Tuesday 20 August 2019

Six things to know about Cats

The film adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical, directed by Tom Hooper, is set to hit cinemas in December.

(Evan Agostini/AP/PA Images)
(Evan Agostini/AP/PA Images)

By Emily Chudy, PA

The big-screen adaptation of Cats, based on Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 1981 musical, is coming to cinemas this winter.

Directed by Tom Hooper, the film tells the story of a tribe of cats, inspired by TS Eliot’s collection of poems, Old Possum’s Book Of Practical Cats.

Over the course of a single night, the group, called the Jellicles, make “the Jellicle choice” and decide which cat will ascend to the Heaviside Layer and come back to a new life.

Ahead of the trailer’s release on Friday, here are six things to know about the film, including the cast and behind-the-scenes footage.

1. The film’s trailer will be released on Friday

Taylor Swift confirmed the trailer’s release on Twitter, sharing a photo of a bejewelled flask with the words “Catnip” on.

The caption simply said: “Friday”.

2. The cast stars Dame Judi Dench and Taylor Swift

The 2019 film will see Taylor Swift starring as Bombalurina, alongside a cast including Dame Judi Dench, Idris Elba, Jennifer Hudson, Rebel Wilson and Jason Derulo.

Swift said in a behind-the-scenes interview that she came straight off her Reputation stadium tour into rehearsals.

She said: “This musical is timeless and we got to update it in ways that are just so, so, so great.”

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Meow.

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3. Cats will be Dame Judi’s second involvement with the musical

Dame Judi was due to play Grizabella in the original West End production of Cats in 1981, but was forced to withdraw due to injury.

She said in a behind-the-scenes interview: “I was cast in 1981. Just before we opened I snapped my Achilles tendon and I thought that was my history with Cats.

“But it turns out not to be.”

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(Isabel Infantes/PA Images)

4. Cats will include technology to give the appearance that the cast has been shrunk

The production uses technology to add virtual fur to each of the actor’s bodies, as well as using large sets to give the appearance of the actors being as small as cats.

Elba said: “The scale of this film is huge – three or four times bigger for the cat perspective.”

5. Listen out for a new Andrew Lloyd Webber song

Lord Lloyd-Webber, who created the 1981 musical, has reportedly written a new song to appear in the film.

The song’s title has not been announced, but it will be sung by the character of Victoria, played by Francesca Hayward.

6. The film will include different forms of dance, including ballet

The movie version of Cats incorporates hip hop and ballet, featuring Royal Ballet principal dancer Francesca Hayward as part of its cast.

Hooper said: “Directing Cats is like directing world-class athletes … we’re also lucky enough to have Andy Blankenbuehler, who choreographed Hamilton.”

The film is scheduled for release by Universal Pictures on December 20 2019

PA Media

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