As we previously reported, Dame Judi Dench has not seen the film Cats, a film she stars in. We can’t exactly blame her; it’s a film notorious for its baffling what-the-fuckery, a camp classic that confounds the mind with the sheer nonsense and total commitment to mind-melting insanity. I’m going to watch it once a year, is what I’m saying — especially now that I know Dench’s comments on her kitty-cat costume.
In an at-home interview with Vogue, Dench lit up upon the mention of Cats. But not because of the quality of the film — again, she hasn’t seen it. But because of, as she phrases it, “the cloak I was made to wear!” And what is it about her Old Deuteronomy costume that Dench responded to so deeply? Did it transport her instantly to the character, the cat in charge of choosing the winner of the Jellicle Ball? Did it remind her of something from her personal history, giving her an interior key into her performance? Um… no. Definitely no. Her positive description of it is something that needs no further introduction:
Like five foxes fucking on my back.
…Okay. So. How are you all doing, now that you’ve pictured Dame Judi Dench describing a cat costume as “five foxes fucking on my back” in a positive manner? If you’re like me, you’ve been transported quickly back into the world of the film itself — nonsensical, bizarrely earnest, and bizarrely horny in a way that doesn’t quite track. I am very, very, very grateful that Dench enjoys the sensation of a costume that feels like a fox orgy, and very, very, very grateful it’s in service of this particular cinematic orgy of cacophony.
While Dench hasn’t seen the full film, she has seen a picture of her finalized, CG-aided look. And she’s… not a fan. She described it quite bluntly, albeit with no imagery of any animals making love to each other on her person: “A battered, mangy old cat. A great big orange bruiser. What’s that about?” Woof! Er, meow! As we previously reported, Dench found a disparity between the regal feeling of the coat she wore on set and the final look of her character; time has seemed only to widen the gulf. But there is one person who calls himself a fan of the film and Dench’s work: Dench’s James Bond co-star Ben Whishaw, who plays the updated version of Q in the Daniel Craig-verse! He sent Dench a text and “just doted on it. So sweet. So lovely.”
For more feverish musings on a feverish film, check out my man Vinnie Mancuso’s descent into madness here. And remember: Dame Judi Dench liked wearing a coat that felt “like five foxes fucking on my back.”