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‘Cats’ VFX Artist Speaks Out on Editing Buttholes, Tom Hooper’s ‘Disrespectful’ Behavior

The VFX artist says working for Tom Hooper on "Cats" was "almost slavery."

"Cats"

“Cats”

Universal

The much-discussed “butthole cut” of “Cats” has been confirmed by an anonymous VFX artist who worked on the Tom Hooper musical adaptation. The crew member spoke to The Daily Beast about working on the infamous musical film, which had an early cut where the feline characters appeared with buttholes. While the decision was anatomically correct for the cats, the look was too jarring for release. The VFX artist said, “When we were looking at the playbacks, we were like, ‘What the hell? You guys see that?’”

“We paused it. We went to call our supervisor, and we’re like, ‘There’s a fucking asshole in there! There’s buttholes!’ the VFX artist continued. “It wasn’t prominent but you saw it. And you [were] just like, ‘What the hell is that? There’s a fucking butthole in there.’ It wasn’t in your face — but at the same time, too, if you’re looking, you’ll see it.”

The VFX artist was a part of the team tasked with removing the buttholes from an early cut of “Cats.” The crew member has harsh words for director Tom Hooper and calls the experience of working on the film “almost slavery.” Other crew members told The Daily Beast they would stay in the office for “two or three days at a time, sleeping under desks.” The VFX artist said Hooper would rudely criticize their work despite not having a background in animation himself.

As The Daily Beast reports: “Some aspects of the production, the source alleges, became simply absurd — like when Hooper would demand to see videos of actual cats performing the same actions the cats would do in the film. ‘And as you know,’ the source said, ‘cats don‘t dance.'”

The source went on to call Hooper “horrible,” “disrespectful,” and “demeaning,” adding, “When you go into a conference room, you’re not allowed to speak. And he talks to you like you’re garbage.”

Universal Pictures opened “Cats” in theaters over the Christmas holiday, where it bombed at the box office with just $27 million in the U.S. and $73 million worldwide. The musical carried a budget of over $80 million before marketing costs. The VFX in “Cats” became a punching bag, most notably because of the “digital fur” used to turn human actors like Idris Elba and Jennifer Hudson into felines. The Oscars featured a bit in which presenters and “Cats” actors James Corden and Rebel Wilson ripped the film’s VFX, but IndieWire’s Chris O’Falt slammed the joke because it’s Hooper’s artistic vision that is to blame for “Cats” being a disaster, not the VFX artists.

IndieWire has reached out to Hooper’s representatives and Universal for further comment. Head over to The Daily Beast to read more from the VFX artist’s interview.

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