News from the Natural World: Cats are furious that humans were cast instead of actual Cats in the movie ‘Cats’.
The Cats movie, released in 2019, was a musical fantasy film based on the 1981 Tony Award-winning stage musical of the same name by Andrew Lloyd Webber. It was directed by the promising human, Tom Hooper. But the musical Cats was absolutely terrible – and the movie’s box office was surely proof of that. After being lambasted by critics, Cats quickly became a must-see so-bad-it’s-hilarious for many viewers. Cats is the “best worst movie ever made”. Performances, unsettling special effects and a plot that makes zero sense have all been raised as the film’s worst points. It has just a 16 per cent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes – but that’s only half the story. The movie has hit the headlines for a controversial new reason.
A group of Cats has recently complained about the use of human actors. These Cats come from the famous actor troupe Pawlights. They were absolutely outraged that not a single role went to a real Cat. In addition, they said that they and many other Cats had turned up during the audition process but were shooed away. It was an outrage. This has raised the question – “Should humans still play animal characters?”
Cats Furious that Humans Were Cast Instead of Actual Cats
There is a long list of humans who have played animal characters. In Peter Jacksons epic King Kong movie the titular role went to a mass of computer pixels rather than a real Gorilla. Furthermore, in Steven Spielberg’s Jaws, the role of man-eating Shark went to a mechanical machine rather than an actual Great White Shark. Finally, the roles of the Dinosaurs in Jurassic Park again went to computer-generated images rather than dinosaurs that had been resurrected from DNA found in mosquitoes preserved in amber. While many human actors have been praised for their performances in animal roles, some argue that only animal actors have the authenticity to bring these parts to life. So is this speciesism equivalent of blackface – or is it simply acting?