Universal has released a first look featurette Tom Hooper‘s film adaptation of Cats. Based on the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical which was inspired by on Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats by T. S. Eliot, the film will feature Lloyd Webber’s iconic music and a world-class cast of dancers, state-of-the-art technology, and dance styles ranging from ballet to contemporary, hip-hop to jazz, and street to tap to present the musical to a younger generation in a whole new way.
I can’t say I am overly familiar with Cats, but based on everything in the featurette, it will be using new tools and technologies to transform the actors into feline forms. Check the video below.
This first look comes to us ahead of the trailer, which will be released this Friday. In it, we get to see what music means to singers like Jennifer Hudson and Taylor Swift, and how they use it to communicate to the world. Additionally, dancer Francesca Hayward talks about how she uses dance to convey emotion and story without saying a single world. Other castmates include Idris Elba, James Corden, Judi Dench, Jason Derulo, Ian McKellen, and Rebel Wilson talking about how exciting it is to have the opportunity to be a part of this cinematic event of the year.
Here’s the official plot synopsis:
Oscar®-winning director Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech, Les Misérables, The Danish Girl) transforms Andrew Lloyd Webber’s record-shattering stage musical into a breakthrough cinematic event.
Cats stars James Corden, Judi Dench, Jason Derulo, Idris Elba, Jennifer Hudson, Ian McKellen, Taylor Swift, Rebel Wilson and introduces Royal Ballet principal dancer Francesca Hayward in her feature film debut.
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.
Universal Pictures presents a Working Title Films and Amblin Entertainment production, in association with Monumental Pictures and The Really Useful Group. Cats is produced by Debra Hayward, Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner and Tom Hooper. The screenplay is by Lee Hall (Billy Elliot, Rocketman) and Hooper, based on Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats by T.S. Eliot and the stage musical by Lloyd Webber. Cats is executive produced by Lloyd Webber, Steven Spielberg, Angela Morrison and Jo Burn.
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.
Again, I am not overly familiar with musicals like Cats, but the production design for this looks absolutely insane. As the cast has said, this takes place entirely from the perspective of cats, so it only makes sense that everything seem grand and epic in size. And the cast that they have assembled is equally impressive. It’s not everyday you will get to see Elba singing and dancing as a cat. And this video just shows them as they are, not with the technology that is being used to transform them into cats. So that should be fun to see when the first trailer pops up this Friday.
Written by Hooper and Lee Hall, Cats opens in theaters on December 20, 2019.