Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Illustration for article titled iCats/i VFX artist confirms butthole cut, says a horrible Tom Hooper made the process hell
Photo: Universal Pictures

Last month, a quarantined nation barked out a laugh between their hacking coughs upon learning that, somewhere in the dark, musty halls of Universal Studios, there existed a “butthole cut” of Cats. The evidence? A tweet claiming one anonymous VFX producer was tasked with “[removing] CGI buttholes that had been inserted months before” the movie’s final release.

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Flimsy stuff, perhaps, but it appears the rumors are true. The Daily Beast tracked down down this hero, who, in a headline for the ages, declares “I edited out the buttholes from Cats. It was a nightmare.” The VFX artist, who remains anonymous in the piece, says that production was halfway complete when the team first noticed the tiny puckers. “When we were looking at the playbacks, we were like, ‘What the hell? You guys see that?!’”

They continue, “We paused it. 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.” They do clarify, however, that the buttholes were not necessarily intended, but something that “just happened and slipped through.” They also confirm that it was one single person’s job to erase them from the backsides of Taylor Swift, Judi Dench, and the rest.

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But what’s more interesting about their account is the reveal of just how out of his element director Tom Hooper was. The source recalls 90-hour work weeks, and decries Hooper as a “horrible” and “condescending” director with no clue as to how animation works. At one point, they claim, Hooper demanded “to see videos of actual cats performing the same actions the cats would do in the film.” The source says, “And as you know, cats don‘t dance.”

They must not be aware of supercuts like this?

They also allege the team was forced to work for six months on the film’s two-minute trailer, which left them only four months to complete the rest of the film. This crunch made increasingly difficult by the number of visual effects supervisors who left the film due to Hooper allegedly talking to them like they were “garbage.”

“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.”

And, well, the results speak (er, meow) for themselves.

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Randall Colburn is The A.V. Club's Internet Culture Editor. He lives in Chicago, occasionally writes plays, and was a talking head in Best Worst Movie, the documentary about Troll 2.

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