You can't keep a bad cat down. The makers of the official James Bond movies just settled a long-running legal battle with the estate of a producer who claimed he owned the rights to Bond's archenemy, Ernst Stavro Blofeld. This clears the way -- after decades -- for the return of Blofeld, the return of his organization SPECTRE (the Special Executive for Counter-Intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion, if you're nasty) and, most importantly, the return of Blofeld's infamous white Persian.
The worst cat in the world.
The cat, who hasn't appeared on screen since 1983's Never Say Never Again, has never given an interview. Until now.
Kelly: Why not?
Cat: I can't speak. I'm a cat. Plus I preferred to let the work stand for itself.
Kelly: It's amazing to me that the cat-stroking villain is such a familiar image -- and not just to Bond fans -- but you haven't done a film in thirty years.
Cat: And I only did seven in all. But it really must have really resonated with people, because they still come up to me and say things like, "Aren't you the cat from James Bond" and "Are you lost" and "Get out of my garden."
Kelly: The same thing happens to Tanya Roberts.
Cat: I don't know who that is.
Kelly: She was in A View to a Kill.
Cat: I must have missed that one.
Kelly: Let's talk about how you got started with Bond. You're not mentioned in any of (Bond creator) Ian Fleming's books.
Cat: That's true. There's a cat in Goldfinger, the novel, but that's not me. Remember Goldfinger's Korean henchman, Odd Job? He eats it.
Here -- ' Goldfinger took the cat from under his arm and tossed it to the Korean who caught it eagerly -- 'I am tired of seeing this animal around. You may have it for dinner.' The Korean's eyes gleamed.
Kelly: That's... astoundingly offensive.
Cat: His other sidekick is a lesbian named Pussy Galore. That's okay?
Kelly: Let's get back to you. Your first appearance is in From Russia with Love. Do you need to set up this clip?
Cat: Here's an absolutely true story about this big scene. It's a meeting of bad guys, and one of them is never shown. You just hear his voice. And he says, "check out these Siamese fighting fish," and then he feeds me one. We shot it; it's fine, whatever. But the producers keep rewriting the movie, and they reach a point where they realize they have to go back and do this scene again, to explain a whole different story. Only they've taken the set down. And they can't afford to rebuild it. And the new scene is about three solid minutes of exposition, and there's nothing to show -- because two of the actors are saying lines that don't make any sense anymore, and one of them can't be shown. So they just keep showing these hands patting this cat.
Kelly: I never noticed that.
Cat: Because cats are interesting. Even doing nothing. We're like watching a fire. Also check out the beginning of the scene. Lotte Lenya crosses the room backwards. They didn't have any more film of her, so they showed her reverse. Because she's not as interesting as a cat.
Kelly: Your next appearance is in Thunderball.
Cat: Another meeting of bad guys. Blofeld pats me... they talk about their plan... blahblahblah... someone gets blown up or kicked in the leg.
Kelly: So not really a stretch.
Cat: Better than being consumed by a racist stereotype. Next is You Only Live Twice...
Kelly: Not your finest moment.
Cat: Why do you say that?
Kelly: Because on YouTube, the clip is called "Blofeld's Cat Freakout."
Cat: That was not a professionally run set.
Kelly: Poor Donald Pleasence. It looks like you're killing him.
Cat: What about me! He could have just let me go! It's just film!
Kelly: You look crazy.
Cat: Nic Cage looks crazy! I'm trying to get away from an explosion! Here's all I'm going to say about that: Do they ask Pleasence to play Blofeld again? No. But in On Her Majesty's Service, not only am I back, I finally get to stretch. Of course you remember the famous ski chase?
Kelly: Pauline Kael called it "ethereal."
Cat: Because it had a cat in it. I'm not only in that scene, I have a stunt. Look for it at 0:45.
Kelly: That's a stunt? You got tossed on desk.
Cat: You ever get tossed at office furniture by Telly Savalas? Kojack? Maggott from The Dirty Dozen?
Kelly: They must have been impressed with your physicality; because you get to do even more action in Diamonds are Forever.
Cat: Yes, I get kicked across a room by Sean Connery.
Kelly: Very convincing screech.
Cat: Well, I got kicked across a room by Sean Connery.
Kelly: And then he gets to say something about how you're the "wrong pussy."
Cat: Yeah, that just kept getting funnier and funnier. Pussy Galore, "wrong pussy," Octopussy... there's a close-up of a cat dish in A View to A Kill that's just hilarious, because it says "Pussy." Ian Fleming had a million of 'em. And by "a million" I mean the same one a million times.
Kelly: You said you'd never seen A View to a Kill.
Cat: It was on TV.
Kelly: And then the lawsuit...
Cat: The lawsuit. It turns out that when Ian Fleming sold James Bond to the movies, he didn't tell anyone that he'd created "Blofeld" and "SPECTRE" with two other guys. So no more Blofeld, and no more Blofeld's familiar. I make one more "official" James Bond movie, For Your Eyes Only...
Kelly: You get dropped down a chimney in that one...
Cat: You see a pattern? A couple of years later, Sean (Connery) calls me up to do Never Say Never Again, so I read the script and it's a bad-guys-explain-the-plot-scene, which feels like a step back. But I do it for a chance to work with (Max) von Sydow. And since then, nothing. Crickets.
Kelly: Your agent doesn't call.
Cat: No, I'm eating crickets.
Kelly: But that could all change, now with the lawsuit settled.
Cat: Whatever. They know where I can find me.
Kelly: The laundry hamper.
Cat: Or if I'm outside and it's raining, they should check under the car.