OwlKitty Is the Star of Your Favorite Oscar-Winning Films
While you’re watching this year’s nominated movies, make time for this superstar.
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As anyone who works in show business knows, it’s nice work, if you can get it. It’s even nicer if you can make the work yourself, at home, with your cat. Meet OwlKitty, the six-year-old self-proclaimed “floof” from Portland, Oregon, who has become a bonafide star of the internet and the silver screen.
OwlKitty was born as “Sequoia” while in the care of a foster parent from the Cat Adoption Team (CAT) and was adopted by a family of creatives — including filmmaker Tibo Charroppin, writer-editor Olivia Boone, and 11-year-old Tabby, Juliette. With her round face, pear shape, and starlet pupils, OwlKitty’s rise to fame began with her debut film in November 2018.
Since then, OwlKitty — whose real name is Lizzy — has amassed a career’s worth of credits in some of Hollywood’s biggest movie franchises alongside its most A-list actors, including Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Cruise, and Brad Pitt, spanning 164 Instagram posts and 78 YouTube videos.
To be super clear, Lizzy doesn’t actually star in these big-time films; her team edits the videos so that she becomes the star. So far, Lizzy has appeared in such classics as Star Wars, The Matrix, Pulp Fiction, Harry Potter, Jurassic Park, The Shining, Risky Business, and Titanic. Of course, some titles have been updated to more ap-purr-priate cat puns (had to), such as Purranormal Activity, Purrassic Park, and Catzilla.
And while some actors might turn their nose up at the small screen (television, not phone), OwlKitty has humbly starred in Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, The Office, and the music video for Ariana Grande’s “Thank U, Next.”
But as every scene-stealer knows, there’s always someone behind the camera (or green screen) making the magic happen. Spielberg. Gerwig. The Daniels. Enter: Charroppin (a.k.a., Lizzy’s dad). He is a filmmaker, animator, and photoshop wizard, who found a way to wear all those hats at the same time.
“I had a green screen, and I had a really cute cat,” Charroppin told NPR. “And I wanted it to be big-budget and like some that [look] expensive even though it’s done in our kitchen because that’s where we have the best light.”
“In my version of [Jurassic Park], you see Lizzy, who is now 30 feet tall, walking around the cars,” Charroppin shared with NPR. “Then one of the [kid] 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.”
He continued: “It’s a really silly moment which plays out really well with a cat, surprisingly. It doesn’t feel as threatening or anything, it’s just funny.” An actor might never reveal their secrets, but a director will. When not donning a green morph suit and directing OwlKitty, the French-born videographer works as a senior video editor for the ACLU. (Also nice work, if you can get it.)
After garnering fans around the world with a million Instagram followers and 2.34 million YouTube subscribers, OwlKitty has pulled an Em-meow Watson (again, sorry) and taken a hiatus from acting. Her last videos — a Top Gun parody and accompanying behind-the-scenes footage — were posted more than three months ago, which is nearly two years in Hollywood-cat time.
Now, while it doesn’t appear OwlKitty is actually nominated for an Oscar this year — but did attend in 2019 and 2020 — we still hope she wins Everything, Everywhere, All At Once.
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Nikki is a writer and comedian. Their writing has appeared on The New Yorker, McSweeney’s, Funny or Die, Reductress, the Google Assistant, and her folks’ fridge. They were named one of WhoHaha’s “35 LGBTQ Creators We Love” in 2018 and a Yes, And Laughter Lab finalist in 2019. They worked as a story producer on the YouTube Originals weekly music show, RELEASED, and wrote for the inaugural 2021 MTV Movie & TV Awards: Unscripted, hosted by Nikki Glaser. Nikki hosts the monthly-ish standup show Queer Tiger Beat, which has been recommended by The New York Times and featured in Time Out.