Interview: Mike Myers Talks About 'The Cat in the Hat'

Mike Myers discusses Dr. Seuss, director Bo Welch, and being The Cat

Mike Myers Cat in the Hat
Mike Myers at the World Premiere of "The Cat in the Hat.". Photo By Rebecca Murray

Though the film was a commercial disappointment, comedian Mike Myers brought his manic energy to the role of The Cat in the 2003 big screen adaptation of the classic Dr. Seuss book, The Cat in the Hat. Myers donned faux fur, but his unmistakable face was still distinguishable beneath the detailed make-up of the mischievous feline.

The movie version of The Cat in the Hat remained mostly faithful to the original Dr. Seuss story, but padded out to fill an hour and a half of screen time.

Myers as The Cat shows up at the home of Sally (Dakota Fanning) and Conrad (Spencer Breslin), two kids who’ve been given strict instructions to behave or else. When the funny feline appears, it’s to show the kids there’s a way to have fun “but you have to know how.”

On casting Mike Myers as the infamous Cat, Hollywood producer Brian Grazer explained, "The Cat is an icon in American twentieth century life and it takes the genius Mike possesses to inhabit that role in an honest way that I truly think Dr. Seuss would have approved of. Mike brings irreverence to the Cat, which comes from his brilliance in understanding how pop culture works, so the movie is not just a benign children’s tale. I suspect it’s probably what Geisel would have done if he had written the book today, given how irreverent he was."

Universal Studios in Hollywood hosted the World Premiere of director Bo Welch’s The Cat in the Hat on Saturday, November 8, 2003.

The red carpet was adorned with red and white Seuss-style decorations.

Minus his Cat make-up, Myers spoke to about his work on this family film.

Were you a long-time fan of Dr. Seuss before making The Cat in the Hat?

Long-time, long-time. The Cat in the Hat is the first book I ever read and one of my best Christmas presents ever, I think around 8 [years old], I got the complete set of Dr. Seuss books so I’m very honored to play The Cat.

What were you going for with the character? There’s obviously a lot of manic energy there.

Well, The Cat is an anarchist and what I was trying to go for is that I tried to imagine who would you want to come into your house, turn it upside-down, and you’d be happy about it. I thought of my mother-in-law and I thought of Bruce Paltrow – Gwyneth’s dad, Bruce Paltrow. That’s what I sort of based the character externals and all that sort of stuff on. The energy I based on was my mom who used to read me The Cat in the Hat and all the Dr. Seuss books to me up in Toronto. That’s the energy. If Austin Powers was more about my father, for me this movie was more about my mother.

What was it like being The Cat?

It was a lot of fun. I got to wear fur, I got to walk on the ceiling and I got to drive in a very cool car, and I got to hang out with two very cool kids.

You are, of course, a Canadian and the movie includes a reference to Canadian Tennis Doubles. What exactly is Canadian Tennis Doubles?

I don’t know what that is either – I thought somebody would tell me (laughing).

That was in the actual script?

It was in the script (laughing). Usually I try and have one reference to Canada in everything that I do and there was already a reference to Canada.

I kept asking around and I actually meant to go onto the Internet and look up Canadian Doubles so if anybody knows, come and tell me.

What was it like working with first-time director Bo Welch?

He’s hardly first time. He’s directed other things and he was so involved in all the other movies that he worked with that he’s a natural, a star is born and he’s Tim Burton, Stanley Kubrick and Mike Nichols all wrapped into one.

The Cat in the Hat Premiere Interviews:
Kelly Preston, Alec Baldwin, Sean Hayes, Dakota Fanning, Spencer Breslin and Amy Hill