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'Cats' director Tom Hooper made production "almost slavery" for VFX crew

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An anonymous source who worked on the visual effects for Tom Hooper’s Cats has spoken of the experience as “almost slavery” in a new exposé.

In an interview with The Daily Beast, the source recounts months of belittlement from the film’s director amidst a frantic production schedule. The article addresses the recent news that a past cut of the film prompted fans to petition to #ReleasetheButtholeCut.

  • Read more: Cats review: weird and occasionally wonderful, this feline flick is no cat-astrophe

The source explained when the first unusable footage was noticed: “When we were looking at the playbacks, we were like, ‘What the hell? You guys see that?!’”

“We paused it,” they continued. “We went to call our supervisor, and we’re like, ‘There’s a fucking asshole in there! There’s buttholes!’ 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.

“There was nobody that said, ‘We want buttholes.’ It was one of those things that just happened and slipped through.”

The interview went on to detail the strenuous working conditions, naming 90-hour working weeks for months, with employees staying in offices for two or three days at a time.

Hooper was described as “horrible”, “disrespectful”, “demeaning” and “condescending”. Hooper and distributor Universal Pictures did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

“It was pure, almost slavery for us, how much work we put into it with no time, and everything was difficult,” the source said. “We were so rushed on the project that we’d have no time for anything. So when people say, ‘Oh, the effects were not good,’ or ‘The animation’s not good,’ or anything, that’s not our fault.

“We have no time. Six months to do a two-minute trailer and four months to do a film of an hour and a half. My math is pretty good… You could figure that doesn’t make any sense.”

Taylor Swift in the new 'Cats' trailer
Taylor Swift in the ‘Cats’ trailer. (Credit: Universal Pictures / YouTube)

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, Cats was released to stream online earlier than scheduled.

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