Anyone who’s seen the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s knows the plot. A big orange no-named cat lives with a social gadfly in Manhattan. The cat puts up with all her parties and boyfriends and the landlord, as well as the woman herself who isn’t always the nicest to the poor cat. At the end of the movie, the woman dumps the cat out of a cab into the pouring rain, then has second thoughts. She retrieves the cat from an alley and they live happily ever after.
It takes a cat with serious acting chops to pull off this role. In the 1961 movie, the no-named cat was played by movie veteran Orangey, a ginger tabby trained by the well-known animal handler Frank Inn.
Orangey is the only cat to have won two Patsy Awards (Picture Animal Top Star of the Year, an animal actor’s version of an Oscar), one for the title role in Rhubarb (1951), and the second for his starring role in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
So you’d think that when they brought Breakfast at Tiffany’s to Broadway, the cat’s crucial role would be the first one to be cast.
But no. In the current Broadway production, Holly Golightly’s cat still had not been cast four days before the previews.
It was not for want of trying. According to The New York Times, an early casting call generated 100 submissions, and 8 of those cats ended up auditioning for the role. But the show’s cat trainer, Babette Corelli, claimed they were “amateurs.” They either bolted from the stage or refused to follow commands.
Cat actor Munchie, one of those who responded to the cattle call, told Mousebreath, “They’re the ones who are the amateurs. They didn’t give us any time to get into character. I’m a method actor and I’m serious about the craft. I don’t follow ‘commands.’ Did Brando ‘follow commands’?”
The casting call fiasco led Corelli to bring in one of her own cats, a slim tuxie named Montie, and Vito Vincent, a pudgy orange tabby owned by trainer Michael LeChrichia.
Corelli worked with Montie and Vito before their auditions, using a clicker, verbal and hand gestures to train them for the role.
In the end, Vito got the part and Montie will understudy. Montie had a hissy fit when he learned the news. “Vito’s a big tub o’ lard who can’t tell the difference between Stanislavski and a Kardashian. I hope he breaks a leg.”
some material via The New York Times