There’s only one way to describe Netflix’s series Brand New Cherry Flavor: “What the fuck was that?” If you haven’t watched yet, chances are someone’s mentioned how extremely weird it is. But how off-kilter can a TV show about a young filmmaker getting revenge on a creepy producer who fucked her over be? Well, for starters, it has a lot more cat-puking than anyone had anticipated. It’s a brand new feline-flavored addition that wasn’t present in the Todd Grimson novel the show’s based on.
In an interview with Vulture, the show’s creators Nick Antosca and Lenore Zion explain how they had the show’s star Rosa Salazar puke up cats. Obviously, Salazar wasn’t actually throwing up kittens, but they look hyper-realistic. And that’s because the creators decided to opt for puppets instead of going the CGI route. “Everybody kept trying to convince us, ‘Oh, it’s going to be easier to do this or do that,’” says Antosca. “We’re like, ‘No, we’re going to be practical.’” Zion adds that the puppeteers “made sure they actually looked alive with personality and unique little quirks” and the VFX team used slime to make them look like newborns.
In the show, Lisa Nova (Salazar, who’s been in her fair share of odd roles) gets the attention of producer Lou Burke (Eric Lange), who wants to turn her short film into a feature. While at an industry party, she’s approached by Boro (Catherine Keener), a mysterious woman who promises she can help Lisa hurt anyone. After Lou keeps trying to grope Lisa without consent, he betrays her, hiring a different director to make the film. So, Lisa approaches Boro asking for help with a curse to set Lou’s life on fire. But that comes at a cost—with Lisa puking kittens that’ll be under Boro’s possession. Because the effects of the curse are a main plot point, that means Lisa ends up vomiting up lots of kittens. It’s as gross as it sounds.
And yes, the puppets were actually coming out of Salazar’s throat. Zion says that the actor had to “put these strange little kitten dolls in her mouth, which was also full of what was basically K-Y Jelly, and throw them up over and over again.” It doesn’t sound like Salazar thought it was too gross or difficult, though. “She didn’t complain and was ready and willing for every take we needed,” says Zion.
The creators also explain why they went with something as bonkers as throwing up felines. In Grimson’s novel, it’s explained that Boro is the spirit of a man who mated with a magical white jaguar, and absorbed some of its power. But, as mentioned by the creators, it’s hinted that Lisa is also connected to the jaguar. “There’s something really satisfying about having a direct, I guess, descendant from that mother jaguar vomit up little, tiny baby kittens that are symbolic [of] her inner strength and her power,” explains Zion. However, the creators don’t reveal how Lisa’s mother is actually connected to the jaguar. Perhaps if it’s picked up for a second season, we’ll find out.