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Apparently there’s a ‘butthole cut’ of Cats and, dammit, we need to see it

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Hannah-Rose Yee
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Francesca Hayward as Victoria in cats movie

As people around the world stream the film during self-isolation, it has been revealed that, once upon a time, a version of the movie accidentally featuring strange, furry anatomical renderings might have existed.

Cats, the noted cinematic calamity, quietly dropped onto iTunes this week, where it has been embraced by people looking for entertainment as they isolate at home.

And entertainment it most certainly is, as Seth Rogen discovered watching the film for the first time. Rogen, who had never seen the original musical upon which it is based – perhaps he should have read our story explaining the bonkers plot of Cats to first-time viewers before queuing up his iTunes rental – live-tweeted his experience for all his followers.

Some of his thoughts? He found the fact that Judi Dench’s cat character wore a fur coat “appalling”, and he demanded to know “WHAT IS A JELLICLE?!” (If only we had the words to explain, Rogen.) He also wondered about why some cats wore trousers (or “pants”, as he put it) and others did not. 

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This line of inquiry led to Rogen learning that, during the making of Cats, a VFX producer was hired in November 2019 to “finish some of the 400 effects shots”. His “entire job”, according to a tweet by a “friend of a friend” of the producer, was to “remove CGI buttholes that had been inserted a few months before.” Of course, if you’ve been following along at home, this means that: “somewhere out there, there exists a butthole cut of Cats”.

Rogen immediately demanded that the butthole cut be released, and his clarion call was adopted by social media users throughout the (internet) land.

Director Rian Johnson added his voice to the fire, asking Universal to release the version of the film that contains buttholes. Twitter users sent the hashtag #releasethebuttholecut trending.

Universal, in response to questioning about the existence of a butthole cut from Vulture, responded “no comment”. 

Does a butthole cut of Cats exist? We may never know. Universal’s “no comment” does not give hope to the many clamouring for its release that if such a thing exists, the filmmakers involved will ever let it see the light of day. 

Remember, when the film was in cinemas in December last year, the studio pulled an iteration from theatres that featured strange CGI mistakes – including a shot of Judi Dench’s human fingers emerging from the furry folds of her cat body – and replaced it with a smoothed-over final version.

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And according to some on social media, the reality of the butthole cut is even stranger than it sounds upon first hearing. 

Ben Mekler, a filmmaker who was instrumental in the grassroots campaign, received information from an anonymous source who worked on the film who revealed that the buttholes weren’t deliberately placed in the film but were rather an incidental result of the movie’s dedication to “digital fur technology”. 

“There were never shots of cats with butt holes,” Mekler’s source wrote to him. “Or at least by design. None that I saw anyway. However there were a dozen or shots where the skin and fur sim was groomed or just folded in a way that really REALLY looked like very furry lady genitals and buttholes by accident.”

Please, tell us more. “The task,” the source continued, “fell on 2D to paint out the offending articles where it was brought up and spotted. Daily reviews were constant awkward discussions of people plucking up the courage to points things like this out, ‘does that look like a fanny to you?’”

So, there you have it. Deliberate or otherwise, some butthole-esque imagery once existed in the film Cats. Do with this information what you will. 

Images: Universal

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Hannah-Rose Yee

Hannah-Rose Yee is a writer based in London. You can find her on the internet talking about movies, television and Chris Pine.

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