Cats is going to be big. It will either be a big stage-to-screen musical beloved by audiences, or the type of strange train-wreck that we can’t look away from. In either case, I’m excited. The film brings the hit Broadway musical to life in a whole new way, featuring a cast that includes James Corden, Judi Dench, Jason Derulo, Idris Elba, Jennifer Hudson, Ian McKellen, Taylor Swift, and Rebel Wilson as digitally-enhanced cats. We’ll have to wait until Friday to see actual film footage, but a new Cats featurette goes behind-the-scenes to showcase how weird this is going to be.
I don’t think audiences are ready for Cats. Director Tom Hooper is bringing Andrew Lloyd Webber’s long-running musical to the big screen, and he’s doing it in an unexpected way. Rather than have the actors slip into some furry cat suits like the Broadway production, Hooper and his team are instead digitally enhancing the cast, adding CGI fur (and I guess cat ears?).
This behind-the-scenes featurette sadly doesn’t give us a good look at the digital cat-people, but it does show off some footage of the cast rehearsing their big numbers, while also strolling around some surreal-looking sets with oversized props. See?
And in case you think I’m joking about the “digital fur” stuff, this featurette has the cast talking about the idea, while also showing some raw computer footage of animators creating the fake felines.
I’m very excited for this movie – but probably for all the wrong reasons.
Along with the cast of recognizable actors, the film also introduces Royal Ballet principal dancer Francesca Hayward in her feature film debut. Cats slinks into theaters December 20, 2019. Keep an eye out for the trailer this Friday.
Featuring Lloyd Webber’s iconic music and a world-class cast of dancers under the guidance of Tony-winning choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler (Hamilton, In the Heights), the film reimagines the musical for a new generation with spectacular production design, state-of-the-art technology, and dance styles ranging from ballet to contemporary, hip-hop to jazz, street to tap.
One of the longest-running shows in West End and Broadway history, the stage musical “Cats” received its world premiere at the New London Theatre in 1981, where it played for 21 years and earned the Olivier and Evening Standard Awards for Best Musical. In 1983, the Broadway production became the recipient of seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical, and ran for an extraordinary 18 years. Since opening in London in 1981, “Cats” has continuously appeared on stage around the globe, to date having played to 81 million people in more than fifty countries and in nineteen languages. It is regarded as one of the most successful musicals of all time.
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