Sir Ian McKellen in Cats

For most of us, the complete and utterly shocking sight that was the first Cats trailer is all but a distant memory. The same can’t be said for at least one member of the film’s visual effects crew, who’s apparently still recovering from the trauma. On Tuesday, the Daily Beast published the unnamed whistleblower's harrowing account of what went on behind the scenes, which continues to claw at their mind more than three months after the film hit screens (and flopped). 

To start, making the film’s two-minute trailer took a full six months, leaving only four months to complete the entire hour-and-a-half film. Then, halfway through, the crew made a hair-raising discovery. “When we were looking at the playbacks, we were like, ‘What the hell? You guys see that?!,” the source recalled. “We paused it. We went to call our supervisor, and we’re like, ‘There’s a fucking asshole in there! There’s buttholes!’ It wasn’t prominent but you saw it… And you [were] just like, ‘What the hell is that?... There’s a fucking butthole in there.’ It wasn’t in your face—but at the same time, too, if you’re looking, you’ll see it.”

“There was nobody that said, ‘We want buttholes,’” the source continued. “It was one of those things that just happened and slipped through.” As of Tuesday afternoon, the hashtag “#ReleaseTheButtholeCut” is once again trending on Twitter. (It first did so last month, when a writer tweeted that a friend of a friend’s “entire job was to remove CGI buttholes” from the film.)

According to the source, there were enough such labor-intensive hurdles that finishing up the film required working months’ worth of 90-hour weeks. At a certain point, some resorted to staying overnight at the office for up to three days, sleeping under their desks. In the source’s words, the situation was “almost slavery.” 

To make matters worse, the source said that the film’s director, Tom Hooper, had no familiarity with what it took to make an animated film. He also was apparently “horrible,” “disrespectful,” “condescending,” and “demeaning.” “When you go into a conference room, you’re not allowed to speak,” the source recalled. “And he talks to you like you’re garbage.” At times, they continued, Hooper demanded to see videos of actual cats carrying out the same actions portrayed in the film. “And as you know,” the source added, “cats don‘t dance.”

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The final product, of course, was eventually met with widespread derision. And to the visual effects crew, it felt like a slap in the face. “When people say, ‘Oh, the effects were not good,’ or ‘The animation’s not good,’ or anything, that’s not our fault,” the source said. “We were so rushed on the project that we’d have no time for anything.” 

Even the film’s cast doesn’t seem to have realized how much hard work went on behind the scenes. Earlier this year, at the Oscars, James Corden and Rebel Wilson wore cat suits and told the audience that “as cast members of the motion picture Cats, nobody more than us understands the importance of good visual effects.”

At the time, another Cats alum aired his complaints. “Hey guys I haven’t watched all of the Oscars,” the writer Yves McCrae tweeted during the ceremony. “But I assume these two were really classy and thanked me for working 80 hour weeks right up until I was laid off and the studio closed, right?”

Related: Cats First Reactions: “Queer,” “Horny,” “Pure and Utter Insanity”