Titanic had Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio. Jurassic Park had Sam Neill, Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum. Home Alone had Macaulay Culkin. But for one videographer, all these movies were missing something important – a four-legged feline lead. That’s right, they needed a cat.
Rest assured that Tibo Charroppin is working to change that, with the help of his cat Lizzy.
Charroppin is a French-born videographer who lives in Portland, Ore., where he works as a senior video editor for the ACLU. It’s also where he creates movie and TV show spoofs with the help of the fluffy black cat who goes by the stage name OwlKitty.
“I had a green screen and I had a really cute cat and I wanted to combine the two somehow,” Charroppin said. “And I wanted it to be big-budget and like some that looks expensive even though it’s done in our kitchen because that’s where we have the best light.”
Then, Charroppin said the idea came to him to use existing footage of something and put Lizzy in it. It was a no-brainer.
Lizzy and Charroppin have created their own renditions of many classic films, including titanic, Jaws, The Matrix, Pulp Fiction, and Jurassic Park – just to name a few. Of course, some of the videos have updated titles like Purranormal Activity.
In Jurassic Park, Lizzy replaces the Tyrannosaurus rex. Charroppin decided to recreate the scene where the T. Rex is coming out of the enclosure, walking around and smelling the cars as the humans sit petrified inside.
“That scene in and of itself would be really funny with a cat,” he said.
And to make it even more relatable for his fellow cat lovers, Charroppin tied together the daily feeding time ritual.
“In my version of the video, you see Lizzy, who is now 30 feet tall, walking around the cars,” he said. “Then one of the kid’s characters, the little girl in the back of the car, I have her open a can of tuna and it makes this sound and all the sudden that’s when Lizzy sees it and goes and tries to attack them and her head.” bursts through the roof of the car.”
“It’s a really silly moment which plays out really well with a surprisingly cat. It doesn’t feel as threatening or anything, it’s just funny.”
Production time for the videos varies on how involved Charroppin wants it to be, but he said the Jurassic Park and Titanic videos each took about two to three months to produce.
“The hardest [part] Of it, funny enough, is not adding Lizzy – it’s removing the elements I want to remove seamlessly,” he said. “It’s trying to remove Kate Winslet, who takes up half the screen because she’s the second lead.”
He has to trace the characters he’s removing frame by frame before recreating the background that would be behind them if they weren’t in the frame. That alone takes up three-fourths of the time to produce a video, he added.
Then comes the fun part — recording Lizzy in front of the green screen. Treats and toys are essential to getting the star actor into character. Charroppin said Lizzy can be a bit of a diva.
“It has to be the perfect storm of her not too hungry, but not just eaten and not too tired but also well-rested,” he said. “And once you have that down – which is maybe one hour in a day – that’s the perfect time.”
In addition to the featured presentation videos, Charroppin also shares behind-the-scenes looks at how he puts everything together with the help of his wife Olivia Boone and the couple’s other cat, a 10-year-old tabby named Juliette.
Charroppin said Lizzy’s life as a house cat is going to remain pretty much the same despite her growing fame, with millions of followers across social media. And ultimately, the family wants to use her channels to promote pet adoption over buying from breeders. Lizzy was adopted from the Cat Adoption Team five years ago.
“If there was one reason to do all of this is to mostly raise awareness that adopting cats is way better than going to get the full breed cats,” Charroppin said. “Anything that we can do to help makes it all worth it.”