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Home arrow Entertainment arrow Dark Gallery arrow LARRY GUTERMAN ON DIRECTING 'CATS & DOGS'
Written by Mitch Persons   
Aug 06, 2004 at 02:00 AM
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The Warner Bros./Village Roadshow live action/animatronic/CGI film CATS & DOGS is Larry Guterman’s third fully completed film. "In February of ‘99 I read the script for CATS & DOGS and loved it", Larry explains, "and met with WB, and they hired me to develop it with the writers, John Requa and Glenn Ficarra. I worked with them for almost a year before the producers, Chris De Faria, Craig Perry, Warren Zide, and Andrew Lazar, were given the green light for the project."
So what was it about CATS & DOGS that made him wait for a year before he got fully involved?

"I could say it was a combination of the live action, the CGI, and the puppetry, but as with all good stories, it was the script. There’s this group of rogue cats -- a real motley crew -- who have found out that there is a serum being developed which will eliminate all human allergic reactions to dogs. These cats try to get hold of the serum and destroy it. Then there’s a plot twist, which I’m not going to delve into too deeply now, but I will reveal that the end result is that the cats will be able to dominate humans and the world, and eliminate dogs completely. Of course, the dogs find out about this dastardly plot, and try to fight back."

How did Guterman find directing the mixture of the animated, the live, and the technologically manipulated animals?

"It was a really challenging thing to try to attack," he asserts, "because you want to try to create a scene with as little detection of special effects as possible. The goal is to make the illusion sell. It’s actually pretty difficult. It requires a ton of planning. You had the people from The Phil Tippett Studios and Rhythm and Hues, who were doing the visuals, and the people from Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, the animatronic people, and Boone Narr, who was directing the live animals, come in and sit down and meet with the production people, all these various companies who are going to be working together. You sit around a table and hash out every frame of the storyboards, which you spend about eight months on, and try to really identify in advance how each frame is going to be achieved with what technique, and how you’re going to blend those techniques, and in the end, of course, you go and shoot the movie, and then, naturally," -- a big laugh here -- "forty percent of what you thought you were going to do goes out the window.

Guterman’s concern with harmonizing the animal special effects is understandable, but CATS & DOGS is not just an animal movie. The animals interact with some decidedly human actors, the foremost being Jeff Goldblum, Elizabeth Perkins, and Miriam Margolyes.

"Elizabeth and Jeff were great to work with, and Jeff, after a couple of days of working with him, really started to revel in the craziness and the lunacy of the whole concept. I had loved Jeff ever since THE FLY. THE FLY was one of my favorite movies, and he was just so compelling in that film -- weird, but charming in an off-beat way. And he was great in JURASSIC PARK. He really made it, created a unique character there.

"Miriam Margolyes also seemed to be caught up the whole craziness of CATS & DOGS. There’s this cat, an evil cat, but Miriam’s character thinks that he’s just a house pet who has been given to this 107-year-old industrialist that she knows. She is constantly dressing this cat up in different clothes, and that makes him look ridiculous. The whole situation is so far out, yet Miriam was able to get a handle on it and make it believable as well as funny.

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Comment by Eman on 2015-10-23 04:53:09
Hi. Yes, your cat may well put on a bit of weight just after spainyg but that should settle down after a few months.You do not say whether your cats are indoor cats or do they go outdoors as well. During the winter the outdoor cats put on weight whilst they laze about in the warm house but once they start spending more time outdoors again, they lose the excess' weight they have gained. We find that the indoor cats do not have such a great winter weight fluctuation as the cats which go outdoors as well. Personally, I've never found a satisfactory way of separating cats feeding to ease one cat having a special diet but if you can, good for you.Cats should always have a mix of wet and dry foods and not just one or the other. When using dry food in addition to wet food, the cat will need less of the wet food than if you just gave them wet food alone. This will help them to maintain their nutritional balance. Also, when putting out dry food, remember to ensure that the cat has a good supply of liquid as well. For dry food our cats all seem to like Iams and their coats seem to be more healthy but it is not cheap. Our cats also like Vitacat Healthy Balance(I believe this is an Aldi own brand) which is much more budget friendly and still keeps them very obviously healthy. For my current cats, these are the two dry foods I try to ensure are in the house at all times as they suit them best. However, the cats will also tolerate short spells on Go-Cat, which has a good variety of flavours to keep them interested, and Whiskas dry food but consistently turn up their noses at Tesco, Sainsbury and Asda dry foods. Over the years, and new cats, I've tried most brands and own labels but find that it is a trial and error exercise to find what suits the animals bestHope you find what your girls prefer and the youngest cat's weight settles soon.(Edited to add the essential reminder to ensure that liquid is available if dry food is used in addition to wet food.)

Comment by Dario on 2015-10-24 19:02:54
Well, if you're looking for the hteiahlest food, it won't be the dry. That is only for our convenience, but not for the cat's health.I wouldn‘t really recommend feeding any dry food. Cats are designed to get their water from food. That's the way nature designed them, they have low thirst drive. When fed dry, they won't drink enough to compensate for the lack of moisture. They will only consume about 50% of the water they should be having. This can lead to kidney disease, UTI, crystals, blockage, renal failure and more. Free feeding also contributes to obesity. And the fact that dry food is over-processed means, that most of it’s little nutrition has been already destroyed, leaving almost no nutrients for your cat. It needs to eat more to meet it’s needs, and in the process consumes more calories from the fillers.Btw wetting the dry food will not help. There’s bacteria on the kibble and the water would just allow it to grow.The only way to give the cat it's natural hydration is to feed it wet food only.But some wet foods are not of a very high quality, either. That goes for most commercial foods. Just like the dry, they are often made with cheap fillers such as corn, wheat, soy, rice etc. These are not a part of cat's natural diet (it’s an obligate carnivore – it eats meat) and they are not designed to digest it. Grain is carbohydrate which the cats can't process and it turns into blood sugar and fat, causing diabetes and obesity. In the wild, where cats only hunt for meat, diabetes and obesity are unheard of. It's us who cause these by feeding a species inappropriate food.We usually read labels on our food, but rarely on the food for our cats. Learn to read the label and understand the ingredients. The hteiahlest food to feed apart from raw feeding is grain-free wet food with no by-product. Some good brands are Wellness CORE, EVO, Merrick, Nature's Variety, Blue Buffalo Wilderness and more. These will give your cat the proper hydration and nutrition it's designed to get and it will be strong and healthy.If you switch it's diet, do it gradually, by mixing the current food with the new one over couple of weeks until there's only the new. This will prevent diarrhea and upset stomach.You will probably get a lot of different answers, so google feline nutrition or look at the links below, and do the research for yourself. I personally wasn't able to find one reliable source (besides the pet food industry) that would say grain is beneficial for cats or that dry is beneficial for them.More on cat nutrition below, Good luck! http://cxdfypth.com [url=http://jlxbzhdpp.com]jlxbzhdpp[/url] [link=http://enolcdjjt.com]enolcdjjt[/link]

Comment by Elham on 2015-10-26 07:00:48
Purina kitten chow (dry) is the best, even my vet rmedcmenos it. for kittens that are just learning to eat cat food, you soak it in warm (not hot) water first until soft. there used to be Purina milk formula kitten chow, if you can find that go with that gradually mix a few hard kibbles in the softened food as their teeth get stronger, until they are mostly eating hard food a diet completely made up of can food is not good for any meat eating animals teeth. the crunchy food helps to keep the teeth clean and strong. also in all this pet food scare Purina has never been implicated that i know of .yet.oh yeah there is a multi-vitamin, multi-mineral spray you can get at wal-mart a good addition to any kitty diet we had captured a litter of feral kittens (when i found them, the mother had them eating a ground squirrel) and we thought that kitten formula and mostly ground beef (raw) would be the preferred diet as they were eating raw meat already then 2 of them developed a weakness in the back legs that we couldn't understand. we thought they were dying. we live over 100 miles round trip from the nearest vet, so we have to figure things out ourself alot of times. and a friend suggested vitamins and minerals we tried it and wow! in less than a week they were back to normal .so it never hurts to add a little to their diet, and it is a taste most of my cats beg me for. good luck with your kittens.

Comment by Nadica on 2015-10-27 22:16:44
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