(as told by the stunt cat)
This is a true story. The names and places have been changed to protect the innocent involved, but this did really happen.
My name is Major. I am a stunt cat, and, one day several years ago found me on set shooting my scenes for the feature film T**********.
My owner had a small role in the film – very small compared to mine! – and she convinced the producers and director they must have me in the film. The script called for the landlady of an apartment complex to own several cats, but, when they saw me, they knew I was all the cat they needed, and I got the job instantly.
A talent such as mine doesn’t need to rehearse, and, when the day of the shoot dawned, my owner packed me in my travel case. I noticed she also took an understudy-cat along: a too-friendly tuxedo by the name of Merrie – I’m a gray-and-white myself – but I knew he’d spend his time in his cat-carrier while I got ready for my closeup!
An hour or so of driving through Los Angeles later, we arrived on set: a dilapidated downtown apartment complex. My owner carried us carefully up the front steps, and we were taken to the talent holding area. We then settled down to wait for me to be called to set. Crafty – that’s food and other refreshments to those of you not in the know – was plentiful, and that other cat and I had a wonderful time snacking on canned delicacies and sipping cool water. Someone had forgot the milk, though, and I showed them my displeasure in no uncertain terms!
The time came for my servant – um, owner – and I to go to set. Set was a hive of activity, with video village – where the producers, director and principal talent hang out – in one corner of the corridor and the camera, with its attending gaffers and grips, in the other. The director welcomed me, and we set about discussing my blocking (blocking, to you non-thespians, is an actor’s physical action on set). I was to wander down the corridor, pass the open door to the landlady’s apartment, look in, lose interest and then continue my wandering.
I practiced my blocking several times, and then it was time for lights, camera, action! My owner waited at the end of the corridor – not that I needed her – and I was given the magic command to walk towards her. This I did (brilliantly, I might add). And then I did it again. And again. And again, until finally the director had had enough…er…had been dazzled enough by my performance.
After “cut” had been said for the last time, I was bundled up into my carrier – Merrie was asleep! – and we walked to the car. A long drive in LA traffic brought us home, and another excellent shoot had come to an end.
I later won the Oscar for my performance.
(Owner’s note: this last statement may or may not be true…).