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Judi Dench Gets Too Honest, Comparing ‘Cats’ Look to Foxes Mating on Her Back

Dench was nominated for her first Razzie Award thanks to Tom Hooper's maligned big screen musical.

Judi Dench as Old Deuteronomy in "Cats," co-written and directed by Tom Hooper.

Judi Dench as Old Deuteronomy in “Cats”

Universal Pictures

Judi Dench still has not seen Tom Hooper’s infamous “Cats” adaptation, in which she stars as Old Deuteronomy, but she has seen photographs of her character and she is not pleased. A new British Vogue cover story on the 85-year-old Oscar winner reveals the actress thought the film’s visual effects would make her look elegant as Old Deuteronomy, but instead Hooper’s vision left her looking “like a battered, mangy old cat.” Dench added, “A great big orange bruiser. What’s that about?”

Don’t get Dench started on the final look of the giant fur coat Old Deuteronomy wears. The clothing choice was widely mocked as one of the film’s more baffling creative choices (why would a furry cat be wearing more fur?), and Dench had quite the appalled reaction to seeing herself wearing the outfit: “The cloak I was made to wear! Like five foxes fucking on my back.” When Vogue writer Giles Hattersley mentioned the film has become a cult favorite, Dench shared, “I had a very nice email…no, not an email. A text, from Ben Whishaw, who just doted on it. So sweet. So lovely.”

Universal opened “Cats” over the Christmas holiday, where it was met with some of the worst film reviews of 2019 and abysmal box office returns. The musical didn’t even reach $30 million in the U.S. and it reportedly lost Universal as much as $70 million at the box office. Dench’s performance earned her a Razzie Award nomination for Worst Supporting Actress. Dench reacted to the nomination in March by saying, “Oh, am I? That would be good! As far as I know, that’s a first!” Next up for the actress is a supporting role in Disney’s “Artemis Fowl.”

While Dench isn’t sold on how the VFX made her look, VFX artists who worked on “Cats” have spoken out about how difficult it was completing the film under Tom Hooper. One VFX artist told The Daily Beast last month that Hooper was “disrespectful” to crew members and compared working with the filmmaker to “almost slavery.” The artist said, “When you go into a conference room, you’re not allowed to speak. And he talks to you like you’re garbage.”

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