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A Hollywood Movie adaption[1] of "Cats", directed by Tom Hooper, is set to begin filming late 2018, with a planned release date of 20th December 2019[2]. The project is being adapted by Lee Hall, with choreography by Wayne McGregor.

The project was first rumoured in December 2013 in the Guardian[3], and more recently took hold in May 2016 by Variety[4], and little has been heard while the project has been in development.

Andrew Lloyd Webber has announced he is writing a new song for the film[5], to be sung by Victoria the White Cat. This would make the movie score eligible for the Oscars.

As this proect gains momentum, industry specialists such as Playbill.com have summarised what is known so far.[6]

Casting

Little fixed information is available so far, but rumours include:

  • Steven McRae,[7] Principal dancer, Royal Ballet, has announced his involvement in the film project.
  • Idris Elba[11] has been named in association with the film, as Macavity, which seems highly unlikely as the role in its current state is a purely dance role and a short cameo.
  • Auditions for an un-named role took place in July 2018; this is likely to be for the role of Victoria the White Cat.

Speculation

  • Judi Dench playing Old Deuteronomy seems very unlikely, except Andrew Lloyd Webber has recently made a similar casting choice in Starlight Express. The role of Poppa, similarly the father figure whose deep, rich voice is integral to the score, has changed gender to Mama. This change is part of a massive overhaul of the show which has alienated many fans. Andrew Lloyd Webber is clearly in a mind-set to re-work his older material.
  • Idris Elba playing Macavity seems highly unlikely as the role is a purely dance role and a short cameo, if the movie follows the show structure at all. It seems far more likely to place him as Munkustrap, the main narrator, or Old Deuteronomy, the father figure and leader of the tribe.
  • Ian McKellen would seem an ideal casting for Gus the Theatre Cat, the role played by Sir John Mills in the 1998 film.
  • James Corden would bring the needed humour and absurdity to Bustopher Jones, the Cat About Town. The Guardian speculate he might be "the Villainous Rum Tum Tugger", which is extremely unlikely.
  • Jennifer Hudson seems likely to be cast as Grizabella and therefore sing "Memory", however this is from the angle of the most likely role for the actress, rather than the best actress for the role.
  • The characters seem likely to be presented in a format that relies less on Computer Generated Imagery than initially speculated; the casting call requires strong dance skills, it seems likely that we will be seeing the performers' natural movements rather than Motion Capture, as this would not require the dancers to sing and vice versa.
  • The film promises "Astonishing new technology to transform (the) performers"[2]
  • The recent productions have seen new material added - "Street Cat Tugger", and Gus leading "Pekes and Pollicles" for example. Whether this new material is included or Lee Hall has access to the more classic version of the show will be of interest. Andrew Lloyd Webber usually promotes the latest updates at the expense of proven material.


References

  1. "Cats" (2019)
    IMDB
  2. 2.0 2.1 CATS The Movie Announced For 2019
    Andrewlloydwebber.com News, 31/08/2018
  3. Cats musical may be next for film treatment, says Andrew Lloyd Webber
    The Guardian, 3rd December 2013
  4. Tom Hooper to Direct ‘Cats’ Movie for Universal
    Variety.com, 5th May 2016
  5. Andrew Lloyd Webber Pens New Song for Possible Cats Film
    Playbill.com, 5th January 2018
  6. What We Know About the Cats Movie So Far
    Playbill.com 26th September 2018
  7. Instagram Post, 8th November 2018
  8. Instagram Post, 2nd November 2018
  9. Royal Ballet Principal Francesca Hayward Joins CATS Film as Victoria!
    Broadway World.com 1st November 2018
  10. Judi Dench Signs on for Cats Film
    Playbill.com October 18th 2018
  11. Idris Elba in Talks to Join Taylor Swift, Jennifer Hudson, More in Cats Movie
    Playbill.com 16th October 2018
  12. ‘Cats’: Dancer Mette Towley Joins Cast Of Universal-Working Title Film
    Deadline.com 26th September 2018
  13. Ian McKellen promises King Lear is in no way a 'farewell tour'
    EW.com 25th September 2018
  14. Taylor Swift, Jennifer Hudson, James Corden, Ian McKellen to Star in 'Cats' Movie Adaptation
    Hollywood Reporter, 20th July 2018
  15. Taylor Swift Will Play An Unexpected Role In ‘Cats’ The Movie
    www.inquisitr.com 25th September 2018
  16. Laurie Davidson Joins Jennifer Hudson, Taylor Swift, and More for Cats Movie
    Playbill.com 25th September 2018
  17. Guardian.com 20th July 2018 "Full details of the casting have yet to be announced, but it seems likely Swift will take the role of Grizabella, the once glamorous, now mangy puss whose showstopper, Memory, is perhaps the musical’s most enduring tune" - other sources pin Jennifer Hudson as Grizabella, which seems more likely. "Fans have speculated that Corden will play either the rotund and chirpy mog Bustopher Jones or villain Rum Tum Tugger. The assumption is that McKellen will play Old Deuteronomy, a wise, elderly patriarch." Rum Tum Tugger is rarely considered a villain, and McKellen is a more likely candidate for Gus the Theatre Cat. Not sure which fans are being quoted here.
  18. Jennifer Hudson, Taylor Swift, James Corden, Ian McKellen Cast in Movie Version of ‘Cats’
    Variety.com 20th July 2018
  19. Jennifer Hudson, Taylor Swift, James Corden, Ian McKellen Will Star in Film Version of Cats
    Playbill.com, 20th July 2018