screengrab via YouTube
If you can only see one big-budget movie-musical about CGI felines this year...tough. Because there happens to be two. In addition to The Lion King, currently about to dominate the box office and the airwaves (thanks, Beyoncé), Hollywood is also bringing Cats to the silver screen, an adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber's blockbuster musical. If you're not familiar with the show, here are the basics: it's a musical about cats based on a series of poems about cats; it has very little plot; it made so much money on Broadway; it's where the song "Memory" comes from. Now you are all caught up and we can talk about the movie.
As for how the movie will advance the franchise, well just about every other famous person happens to be in it. Taylor Swift is in the movie. Idris Elba is in the movie. Jennifer Hudson, Judie Dench and Jason "Jason Derulo" Derulo are in the movie. Rebel Goddamn Wilson is in the movie and oh, you bet your tail James Corden is in the movie. And thanks to a recently-released behind-the-scenes teaser trailer, we've gotten a glimpse of the moviemaking process, as well as a number of passionate speeches about how important the arts are to artists.
In the video, we see glimpses of Andy Blankenbuehler's (the Hamilton guy) choreography, which seems to combine jazz, ballet, tap and, well, being a cat. We hear about how much this show has meant to Judi Dench (Judi Dench!), who was supposed to be in the West End stage version before an injury made it impossible. And we get a look at the impressive larger-than-life sets that will let the audience view the world from a pet's perspective.
In the stage production, actors wear fur-lined bodysuits and makeup to suggest felinity, but as Corden explains, this new version will use technology to make the cast even more animalistic: "Tom's pairing [the sets] with a kind of level of technology which I don't think has ever been used before...these are people but they're cats and this is kind of blowing my mind." Hooper adds, "We've used digital fur technology to create the most perfect digital covering of fur." Here's a sneak preview of what we expect that to look like:
Directed by Tom Hooper (whose previous musical adaptation, Les Misérables, earned Anne Hathaway an Oscar), Cats premieres in theaters December 20. And before a full trailer drops on Friday, take a look at the BTS featurette, here: