VOTD: The Viral New York 'Rat' Came From This Charming Short Film By 'Isn't It Romantic' Director Todd Strauss-Schulson

If you've been perusing the internet since the election, there's a good chance that you've encountered images and photos of a human dressed as a giant rat scrounging around New York City, dragging a giant slice of pizza or riding the subway. Though this is fairly typical of New York and all its weirdness, the human-sized rat is actually the result of the aptly titled short film Rat, directed by Todd Strauss-Schulson, the filmmaker behind A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas and Isn't It Romantic, and starring stage actor Jonothon Lyons as the titular rodent.

Watch the Rat short film below to see

Todd Strauss-Schulson's Rat Short Film

In a little media package sent our way from Todd Strauss-Schulson himself, the director explained, "We went out into Soho to shoot something weird and sweet and melancholy to match our moods, and capture the surreal energy of the boarded up city we love." While the film was being edited, Lyons went back out as the rat, and more images and videos went viral online and got retweeted by the likes of Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, and US Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

This is such a beautifully shot, oddly charming short film. Who would have thought that a giant, makeshift rat scurrying about The Big Apple could make for such a lovely little story? There's a bleakness about this rat living in a city that seems to no longer cater to the vermin, as there's far less food on the streets and trash bags are filled with protective masks. But as many have learned to cope with the new normal of 2020, the rat still finds joy where he can, especially when he happens to encounter a companion (played by Emily Tung). Or does he?

In the short, Strauss-Schulson again shows his penchant for glamorous song-and-dance sequences, following his holiday spectacular with Neil Patrick Harris in A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas and a fantastic karaoke moment in Isn't It Romantic with Rebel Wilson. Even his horror comedy The Final Girls has a musical strip tease. If you need any more evidence of what he can do with a musical, check out his short film Holesum that we featured back in February of 2019. Maybe it's time he tackled a feature length musical?

For now, we're waiting to see Todd Strauss-Schulson's next directorial effort, a comedy called Silent Retreat with Isabella Rosselini, which he co-wrote with The LEGO Movie 2 writer Matthew Fogel. The director is also working on an adaptation of the comic Zombie Brother that will star Colin Firth, and he's on board the big screen adaptation of the Rabbids video game franchise at Lionsgate. In the meantime, head over to his Ulterior Productions website to get a look at some of his other short films. You can also keep up with Todd Strauss-Schulson and Jonathon Lyons on Instagram.