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Dame Judi Dench says she was unhappy at how her Cats character looked

The revered actress has become the oldest cover star in the history of British Vogue.

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Dame Judi Dench has admitted to being unhappy about how her character in the much-derided Cats film turned out (Vogue/Nick Knight/PA)

Dame Judi Dench has admitted to being unhappy about how her character in the much-derided Cats film turned out (Vogue/Nick Knight/PA)

Dame Judi Dench has admitted to being unhappy about how her character in the much-derided Cats film turned out (Vogue/Nick Knight/PA)

Dame Judi Dench has admitted to being unhappy about how her character in the much-derided Cats film turned out, saying she looked like a “battered, mangy old cat”.

The revered actress, 85, has become the oldest cover star in British Vogue’s 104-year history, gracing the front of the magazine’s June issue.

In the accompanying interview, she discussed her role in box office bomb Cats, Harvey Weinstein’s downfall and why she is not in favour of a female James Bond.

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Dame Judi Dench has become the oldest-ever cover star in British Vogue’s history (Vogue/Nick Knight/PA)

Dame Judi Dench has become the oldest-ever cover star in British Vogue’s history (Vogue/Nick Knight/PA)

Dame Judi Dench has become the oldest-ever cover star in British Vogue’s history (Vogue/Nick Knight/PA)

Dame Judi starred as Old Deuteronomy in the big-screen adaption of Lord Lloyd Webber’s musical. Almost every aspect of the film was savaged by critics, though special attention was paid to the visual effects, with each character turned into a cat-human hybrid through the use of CGI.

And Oscar-winner Dame Judi, who has yet to see the film in full, admitted to being upset at how she looked. “The cloak I was made to wear!” she told Vogue. “Like five foxes f***ing on my back.”

Dame Judi said she hoped she would look elegant but instead resembled “a battered, mangy old cat”. She added: “A great big orange bruiser. What’s that about?”

Dame Judi also discussed the future of the James Bond franchise, having first played spymaster M in 1995’s Goldeneye. Amid growing calls for a woman to take over as 007 after Daniel Craig, Dame Judi said Bond creator Ian Fleming would not be in favour.

And while she said she is all for female action leads, in the case of a woman as Bond, Dame Judi added: “Call it something else, then?”

Dame Judi won her best supporting actress Academy Award for 1998 period romantic drama Shakespeare In Love, which was produced by Weinstein when he was at the peak of his Oscar-winning powers.

Following his rape conviction in February, the disgraced mogul is now serving a 23-year prison sentence.

Dame Judi said of his victims: “My sympathies go to anybody who went through an experience like that. It’s very upsetting.

“It’s good that things come to the surface and are spoken about and people feel a kind of freedom, I’m sure.”

Dame Judi is isolating at home amid the coronavirus pandemic and said she hopes the crisis will alert the public to the plight of those who are “completely alone”.

She said: “What is a good thing is that it has made people aware of the predicament of others who are completely alone. If a great deal of kindness comes out of this, then that will be a plus.”

And the actress dismissed any thought of retirement from a stage and screen career that has now entered its eighth decade.

Read the full feature in the June issue of Vogue, available via digital download and on newsstands on Thursday May 7  www.vogue.co.uk/news/article/judi-dench-vogue-interview.

PA