Hooper directed the commercially disastrous adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical, which was beset by production troubles before its release. The film, which was released in December, ended up losing Universal Pictures close to $100m after struggling at the box office.
Comparing the experience to “slavery”, the source said that the CGI for the film’s controversial first trailer took six months to produce, leaving just four months to finish the special effects on the actual film itself.
“It was pure, almost slavery for us, how much work we put into it with no time, and everything was difficult,” the source said. “We were so rushed on the project that we’d have no time for anything.
“So when people say, ‘Oh, the effects were not good,’ or ‘The animation’s not good,’ or anything, that’s not our fault. We have no time.
“Six months to do a two-minute trailer and four months to do a film of an hour and a half. My math is pretty good… You could figure that doesn’t make any sense.”
The source also alleged that Hooper would make unusual requests to the special effects team, including asking to see footage of real cats performing the same dance movements he envisioned for the actors ultimately dressed as cats.
They also alleged that Hooper would be “disrespectful”, “demeaning” and “condescending” to the team, adding: “When you go into a conference room, you’re not allowed to speak. And he talks to you like you’re garbage.”
The Daily Beast said that neither Hooper nor Universal Pictures would comment on the allegations.
The Independent has reached out to a representative for Hooper for comment.
Cats featured an all-star cast including Taylor Swift, Idris Elba, Judi Dench and James Corden. On a production budget of $95m, it grossed just $75m worldwide following savage reviews and online mockery.