Grumpy Cat a diva? Prima Donna? She just looks that way, co-star tells TNP
The Internet is a trove of cat videos.
And if there is one feline that has been cat-apulted to international stardom in recent times, it would be the peerless Grumpy Cat, known for its not-too-happy facial expression.
Tardar Sauce, a two-year-old female mixed breed from Arizona, US, shot to fame when its picture was posted on social news website Reddit in September 2012.
It has since appeared on TV and talk shows.
And when it finally graced the set for its debut TV movie, Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever, it arrived as the undisputed star.
It even shocked its human co-star, American-Canadian actress Megan Charpentier.
"Grumpy Cat had a bigger trailer than I did," the 13-year-old actress told The New Paper over the phone from Vancouver, Canada.
"I saw the trailer and thought it was mine, and was a bit jealous when I found out it was for Grumpy Cat.
"But it's got an entourage of nine people, including its owner and her family, its agent as well as a photographer. So I can see why they needed a big trailer."
Charpentier, best known for her roles as the feral child Victoria in the 2013 horror film Mama and as the Red Queen in the zombie action flick Resident Evil: Retribution (2012), said that Grumpy Cat may be pampered but it is no prima donna.
"It may look like it's grumpy and a total diva, but it's actually really fun, pretty chill and relaxed," she said.
"It's also a pro on set and knows what it's doing."
In the movie, Megan plays a girl who adopts Grumpy Cat (voiced by comedy actress Aubrey Plaza), only to discover that they can communicate.
The movie premieres on Lifetime (StarHub Ch 514) on Dec 21 at 7.30pm.
The pair formed a bond on set, where they spent six to seven hours together on most days.
The teen was taught by Grumpy Cat's owner Tabatha Bundesen how to hold her pet properly and get its attention - by snapping her fingers near its ear or waving feathers in front of it.
But despite the good vibes, Charpentier admitted their working relationship got a little messy at times.
"It peed on me a couple of times and pooped on me once, which was kind of gross," she said.
"There was one scene where I had to rip off a Velcro vest and it peed on me. But it was because it was scared, so I don't blame it."
Charpentier has two golden retrievers, named Charlie and Channing (named after one of her favourite actors Channing Tatum).
"I love cats but I'm not able to get one because my mum is allergic to them," she said.
"I've always wanted one because cats are super fluffy and cute."
Charpentier still keeps in touch with Grumpy Cat via her human family, the Bundesens, and through Twitter.
"Grumpy Cat followed me on Twitter, which got me super psyched," she said, adding that she is already missing her furry co-star and is purring at the prospect of seeing her again.
"I really enjoyed chilling with it and was always asking when I could hold it again.
"One of my wishes for Christmas would be to see Grumpy Cat again.
"That and a MacBook Air."
Five fun facts
1 HER FACE IS FOR REAL
When its photos first emerged, many thought that Grumpy Cat's frown was doctored. But subsequent video clips and real-life appearances have proven that her facial expression is real.
2 IT'S NOT GRUMPY
Far from being perpetually cranky, Grumpy Cat's small stature and signature mean look are a product of feline dwarfism. Its owner, Ms Tabatha Bundesen, said in an interview that Grumpy Cat's brother, Pokey, is the grumpy one.
3 IT'S A PUBLISHED AUTHOR
In news that will enrage starving authors the world over, Grumpy Cat has two book titles to its name.
The contents of the books range from disgruntled life tips to discouraging words, so optimists beware.
One of the books, Grumpy Cat: A Grumpy Book, made it to No. 7 on the New York Times bestsellers list.
4 IT HAS AN AGENT
Grumpy Cat is managed by Mr Ben Lashes, who works as an Internet meme talent manager.
Yes, that's an actual job.
Mr Lashes also manages Grumpy Cat's other Internet contemporaries, including Nyan Cat and Keyboard Cat, and is responsible for snagging the movie deal for Grumpy Cat.
5 IT'S PHOTOGRAPHED ONLY ONCE A WEEK
That's because its human family, the Bundesens, want to keep her life as normal as possible. Handling by strangers is also limited.
Other animal movie stars
KEIKO THE ORCA
Free Willy (1993), Free Willy 2: The Adventure Home (1995), Free Willy 3: The Rescue (1997)
Captured by a whaling ship near Iceland in 1979, Keiko the killer whale's real-life journey to freedom mirrored its onscreen one, as it was released into the wild after 24 years in captivity.
It died of pneumonia in December 2003, about a year after its release.
WINTER THE DOLPHIN
Dolphin Tale (2011) and Dolphin Tale 2 (2014)
Winter was found in December 2005 off the coast of Florida, US, entangled in the ropes of a crab trap. It lost its tail as a result.
The bottlenose dolphin was rescued and taken to Clearwater Marine Aquarium, a non-profit organisation that rescues injured marine animals. It was fitted with a prosthetic tail, and its story was brought to the big screen with a starring role in Dolphin Tale.
CRYSTAL THE CAPUCHIN MONKEY
The Hangover Part II (2011), The Hangover Part III (2013)
From playing Dexter in the Night At The Museum trilogyto the scene-stealing, drug-dealing monkey in The Hangover movies, Crystal is one of the most prolific animal actors of its time.
Its career began with a role in the 1997 film George Of The Jungle, and it has since been in over 20 films.
SPARKY, AKA TRACY, THE JACK RUSSELL TERRIER
Local TV viewers would remember Singapore's very own celebrity pup.
It first appeared as Sparky in a 2002 StarHub Coverage ad where it swallows its owner's mobile phone before running away.
It became the telco's mascot over the next decade, starring in other ads.
According to StarHub's chief marketing officer Jeannie Ong, Tracy was picked as it perfectly matched the energetic and playful traits that were required for the campaign.
The dog was adopted by a family in February.