Cats, a certifiably insane musical production about the lives of the Jellicle Cats, a gang of outrageously named felines, is currently scooping litter all over Hollywood. Jennifer Hudson, James Corden, Ian McKellen, Idris Elba, Judi Dench, and Taylor Swift are all starring in the film adaptation, which recently wrapped up principal photography and has an expected December release. And Swift really, really went for it. Like Daniel Day Lewis and Christian Bale before her, Swift decided to go method, telling Time in a video interview that she attended “cat school” and “learned how to be as much like a cat as [she] possibly could.”
What is cat school, exactly? Does it involve fish? Little toys with strings attached? Scratching posts? Emotional withholding? Getting famous in the early YouTube era? Swift didn’t clarify, but we’d imagine her own beloved kitties, Meredith Grey and Olivia Benson (so named for the tenacious and well-coiffed heroines of Grey’s Anatomy and Law & Order: SVU), served as inspiration. “The most influential factor in my life is cats,” Swift said. “I have cats. They are a real joy to live with. I love cats so much.”
Swift plays a cat named Bombalurina in the upcoming film. One of her big numbers is “The Rum Tum Tugger,” an ode to a particularly sexy male cat (please, end it now), played by Jason DeRulo of “Jaso-o-on DeRulo” fame. Hudson gets to sing “Memory.” Swift does not!
Time asked Swift for her three biggest influences: In addition to cats, she selected Tumblr posts, because they connect her with expressive fans, and Paul McCartney, who she said has “created unparalleled art, and, you know, probably been faced with more pressure than most people.” Paul McCartney is also a cat person! But apparently he’s been overshadowed in this area by John Lennon.