Cats is destined to go down in history as one of Hollywood’s most notorious flops. Tom Hooper’s bizarre adaptation of the hit musical was critically panned and went on to be a box office disaster that’s estimated to have lost Universal Pictures more than $100 million. Since its release, the cast have been quietly distancing themselves from the project, with James Corden and Rebel Wilson poking fun at the movie’s notoriously wonky VFX during the 2020 Oscar ceremony.
Now, Judi Dench has weighed in on the movie. Like many who starred in it, she hasn’t actually seen it. However, unlike them, she has a good excuse, as she suffers from macular degeneration that affects her eyesight. The closest she’s come is seeing a picture of herself in the film and it was apparently far from what she’d imagined.
In a new interview with Vogue, Dench said that she thought her costume looked “like five foxes f**king on my back.” She went on to complain that far from the elegant, dignified Old Deuteronomy she’d pictured, she instead looked like “a battered, mangy old cat. A great big orange bruiser. What’s that about?”
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Dench should be thankful she hasn’t seen the movie, as she’s responsible for one of the most uncomfortable sequences in it. This is the finale, when her character breaks the fourth wall and begins addressing the audience directly. The scene is excruciatingly long and concludes with the moral of the story: “A cat is not a dog.” After 90 minutes of squirming human/cat bodies, my grip on reality was pretty loose, so I appreciated the reminder.
But Cats has at least one celebrity fan. Dench revealed that she’d received a compliment about the movie from another actor famous for playing a furry character.
“I had … a text from Ben Whishaw who just doted on it. So sweet. So lovely.”
Cats is out now on home release and I’d honestly recommend checking it out. There isn’t another film like it out there. Just… be prepared.