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Even Judi Dench isn’t mincing words about her ridiculous, ‘mangy’ Cats costume

By Jacob Oller
Judi Dench Cats

It seems like it was only yesterday that filmmaker Tom Hooper's big-screen adaptation of the long-running Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Cats was tickling the midnight-movie, schlock-loving funny bones of genre audiences everywhere. Now, fans are stuck without blockbuster films and even the cast of Cats is looking back on the box office and critical bomb with candid disdain. Yes, that includes Dame Judi Dench, who is airing out her grievances with the musical that Hugh Jackman turned down and Seth Rogen live-tweeted while high.

Dench, who earned her first Razzie Award nomination for her performance as Old Deuteronomy, opened up to British Vogue about the movie — which she still hasn't seen. Since she hasn't gotten the full feline dose of Cats scratch fever, Dench only really comments on her costuming for the film that originally featured her human hand and real-life wedding ring.

Even bringing up the film brought back bad memories. Rather than appearing elegant as she'd hoped, Dench found herself upset with her appearance in the stills from the movie. “A battered, mangy old cat,” she said of Old Deuteronomy's appearance. “A great big orange bruiser. What’s that about?”

While Old Deuteronomy sometimes appears as quite white in the film, there are moments where she's a bit like an elderly Garfield. And that's not to mention the specifics of the costume itself.

“The cloak I was made to wear!” Dench said. “Like five foxes f***ing on my back.”

That's a lot of fur and fury. Some of the cast, like Taylor Swift for example, were more bodysuit-oriented cats. Dench unfortunately had to sweat it out under a massive fur mantle that'd give Jon Snow's wardrobe a run for its money.

At least the ironic crowd is still watching the film — and some in the industry have found things to love about the Jellicle madness as well. “I had a very nice email ... no, not an email ... A text, from Ben Whishaw, who just doted on it. So sweet. So lovely,” Dench said of getting an appreciative message from the Paddington and Mary Poppins Returns star. Perhaps Whishaw, like many genre fans, turned to the bizarre film as a ridiculous solace while stuck at home watching streaming.

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