Universal recently showcased the first look at their upcoming adaptation of the musical Cats, and it sounds extra weird. Acclaimed director Tom Hooper (Les Miserables) is at the helm for this one, which has been a long time coming. The play itself was immensely popular and that essentially assured that, one day, someone would be brave enough to try and bring it to the big screen. That time is now and, based on what was shown to those in attendance at CinemaCon this week, we could be in for a bizarre little treat later this year.
The movie just wrapped filming very recently, so the studio didn't have an actual trailer ready to showcase at CinemaCon. Instead, they showed a behind the scenes featurette, which offered a look at the set and cast. The major takeaway from those in attendance is that the sets are gigantic and massive in scope, meaning that the cast members in the movie will all be portrayed as being the size of actual Cats. So, just picture Taylor Swift on a gigantic couch with a CGI cat tail. That's what this movie is going to be. Dame Judi Dench, who stars, put it this way.
We spent a very long time observing cats or learning how to be a cat."
The full Cats cast includes Judi Dench as Old Deuteronomy, Ian McKellen as Gus the Theater Cat, James Corden as Bustopher Jones, Idris Elba as Macavity, Rebel Wilson as Jennyanydots, Jason Derulo as the Rum Tum Tugger, Jennifer Hudson as Grizabella and Taylor Swift as Bombalurina. The video shown featured the cast in motion capture suits. All of the cat stuff will be added in later. It was made clear this movie will be heavy on the digital effects. Swift had this to say about it.
"My first memories of musical theater actually bring me to my first memories of wanting to be a performer in any capacity. Being in a musical with Tom directing, I'm just so honored to get to be a part of this."
Cats is based on the musical of the same name, which itself is based on T.S. Eliot's collection of poems, Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats. Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical centers on a tribe of Jellicle felines on a moonlit evening who must make the "Jellicle choice" in order to decide which of them will head off to the mysterious Heaviside Layer to be reborn. Cats remains one of the longest-running shows in Broadway history and has been performed nearly 9,000 times over the years. It won seven Tony Awards in 1983, while also taking home a Laurence Olivier Award two times in both 1982 and 2015.
Even those who aren't fans of musicals may be able to get on board with the idea of seeing Idris Elba as an actual cat in a big-budget Hollywood affair. It's surely going to be a big day when a trailer for this thing finally arrives knowing what we know now. Cats is set to hit theaters on December 20. This news was previously reported by Entertainment Weekly.