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Yes, Director Tom Hooper Knows How We Reacted to the Cats Trailer

And yes, the cat effects have improved

Cats the Movie Musical

I don’t think I’ll ever forget the experience of seeing the first trailer for Cats. I was in the lobby of the San Diego Convention Center at Comic Con and the moment it dropped it felt like the air stilled as we all stopped to watch in wonder (and in some cases more than a little bit of horror) as alerts pinged on everyone’s phones. We were there to talk Marvel and Star Trek, but all anyone in the press room could discuss was Cats.

The world would never be the same.

I don’t think anyone was ready for the reaction to Cats, and that includes the director, Tom Hooper, who recently spoke about the film with Empire Online.

I was just so fascinated because I didn’t think it was controversial at all…So it was quite entertaining. Cats was apparently the number-one trending topic in the world, for a good few hours at least.

It really wasn’t that Cats was “controversial” as Hooper puts it, just that no one really knew what the titular Cats would look like, and the unmoving faces and digital fur technology in the first trailer was nothing that people were expecting. It was similar to the reaction to the Sonic trailer, and, while no characters in Cats got a complete redesign, the producers did take the reactions as a guide.

“We’d only finished shooting in March, so all the visual effects were at quite an early stage,” Hooper told Empire. I think you can tell that from the way things looked in that first trailer. And the reactions helped things change for the better and improve.

“Possibly there were, in the extremity in some of the responses, some clues in how to keep evolving [the effects],” according to Hooper. “When you watch the finished film, you’ll see that some of the designs of the cats have moved on since then, and certainly our understanding of how to use the technology to make them work has gone up, too.”

I think you can already see how much the design and look of the characters have improved significantly just between the initial teaser and the most recent trailer. I never expected the looks in the first trailer to be the final product anyway, but they were pretty jarring.

It’s an interesting study, overall, of how trailers and marketing happen on effects-heavy films. We only see a few shots in many teasers because most of the shots aren’t done. But with Cats, pretty much everything was effects, so they had to give us a trailer with incomplete renderings. It’s a bit like reading the first draft of a novel and seeing all the typos.

I’m on record as cool with and understanding of why Cats went the digital fur technology route, and I’m excited to see the movie, but it’s very interesting to think of how these movies aren’t done until they’re done and the creators might be listening to our caterwauling online.

(via: Broadway World, Image: Universal Pictures)

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Jessica Mason (she/her) is a writer based in Portland, Oregon with a focus on fandom, queer representation, and amazing women in film and television. She's a trained lawyer and opera singer as well as a mom and author.