Several rat extras from Disney Pixar’s beloved 2007 film Ratatouille have come forward with claims of a toxic work environment on set.
This weekend, one of Humor Darling’s investigative reporters sat down with two rat extras from the film, Rat Damon and Meryl Squeak, to discuss the rats’ personal experiences from shooting the film.
Our source writes:
I met Damon and Squeak on a brisk Thursday evening at their Santa Monica home, which is a hollowed-out cantaloupe in a dumpster behind a Whole Foods. I climbed into the dumpster and approached the rats, being careful not overstep my bounds (or, like, literally step on them, because they’re like 3 inches tall). They offered me some of the garbage they were nibbling on, which I accepted out of respect (Update: I now have Salmonella).
After establishing a rapport (or rat-port…ha…I have an M.A. in journalism) with Damon and Squeak, I asked them when the mistreatment on Ratatouille’s set started.
Squeak said the red flags were there on day-one of shooting. Squeak recalled: “I was sitting in the holding room for rat extras, when some French a-hole with a clipboard came in and screamed at us about how ‘if they catch us stealing any of the prop food they’ll bring in the cats to keep us in line.’ I mean, you can’t talk to us like that! We may be rodents, but we’ve got our SAG cards and work visas, we have rights!”
For context, both Squeak and Damon were allowed to work in France under Disney’s Animal Actors International Exchange Program, which was discontinued in 2016 after news broke that the chicken from Moana had used the exchange program to fuel his massive heroin dealing empire.
As filming continued, things only worsened. At one point, Damon was actually put in physical danger by Ratatouille’s producers. “They came up to me and said ‘we need a stunt double for Remy.’ I was so excited. I’m actually trained in jiu-jitsu, so this was right up my alley.” At this point in the interview, Damon took a moment to demonstrate his jiu-jitsu skills, which resulted in me actually passing out from a cuteness overload. I mean, have you seen a rat do martial arts? It’s like OOH U SO TINY N SO AGGRESSIVE HE PROTEK HE ATTAAAK!
Anywaaaaay, Damon soon discovered that his stunt-double scene was actually just a sequence of him being shot at by an old woman. Damon says producers did not tell him that the scene would involve real gunfire until filming was in progress, in order to obtain an “authentic performance” from the actor.
(Note: Unfortunately, our reporter had to cut her interview short because it was hard to hear the rats’ soft squeaky voices through the tiny little rat microphone she was using to communicate with them.)