Elisabeth Moss was rightly praised for her amazing turn in Alex Ross Perry’s “Listen Up Philip,” but she shared the spotlight with another acclaimed co-star: Gadzookey the cat. Gadzookey, whose real name is Fluffy, was called one of the year’s best animal performers, and his relationship with Moss the film’s “real love story.” He got Time Out critic David Ehrlich’s vote for Sundance’s Best Supporting Actor, and was singled out as an Oscar snub. He even received a special mention in Fandor’s feature “The Year in Cats.”
Writer-Director Alex Ross Perry’s own long-haired tuxedo, Fluffy, makes a brief but memorable appearance mid-way through his film Listen Up Philip, as Gadzookey, the recent adoptee of Ashley (Elisabeth Moss). Gadzookey, in Ashley’s estimation, is “a bit of an asshole,” but he also proves an exemplary friend. In a sense the heart of the film, Gadzookey is a key supporting player and a symbol of Ashley’s post-breakup independence, arriving in her life in the depths of an emotional crisis to offer the comfort of undemanding affection. He’s also the rare cat to be afforded his own line of dialogue—albeit one spoken on his behalf. “Goodbye Philip,” he says (by way of Ashley) to the eponymous ex. “I don’t like you.” Tough but fair.
All this ailurophilia may seem strange to non-cat lover (or, worse, dog people), but the writer-cat bond is a sacred one, born of long, solitary days broken up by the occasional brush of muzzle on shin; it’s animal companionship without the need to break for a half-hour walk just when the creative juices start flowing.
So it hurts to learn that 10-year-old Fluffy’s has lymphoma, and that keeping him alive will require an expensive regimen of radiation treatment and chemotherapy. Perry has proudly avoided going the crowdfunding route for his movies — the latest, “Queen of Earth,” which stars Moss but not Fluffy, just premiered in Berlin — but he’s asking for help to save Fluffy.
I know this is a lot to ask. The past few months have been incredibly difficult and sad and any small way that people could possibly make this ordeal easier would be infinitely appreciated. Having Fluffy be well again has been the greatest gift of all, but now we must pay for that privilege. Fluffy’s treatment goes on for another few months, so we are not in the clear just yet, but his progress has been encouraging both day-to-day and in the opinions of his many doctors.
If you enjoyed Fluffy in “Listen Up Philip,” follow his exploits on Instagram, or just love animals and want to be a part of saving the life of a very special one, I ask you to please help us pay for this life-saving treatment for Fluffy.
Speaking as someone who owns his own Six Million Dollar Cat — a relationship that predates my marriage, the birth of my child and most of my friendships — I can only say that if Perry means anything to you as an artist or a person, it’s money well spent.