There are few topics that I feel that I am more qualified to talk about than Andrew Lloyd Webber's global phenomenon musical, CATS.
Following the release of the upcoming film version's trailer, the internet was swiftly divided between those who disliked it simply because it's CATS, and those who found the images distressing or nightmare-inducing.
For me, self-appointed, unofficial president of the CATS fan club, the release of the trailer was better than Christmas morning, even if it's not the CATS that I know and love. I'm still very excited to see one of my favorite musicals get a reimagining on the big screen.
However, one of the most common misconceptions about the musical is that it doesn't have a plot, and Twitter was quick to denounce the musical's book when the trailer dropped.
One of the best things a big-budget movie can be is utterly unaware of what it’s doing. Then you might get camp magic. From the looks of its trailer, Cats may be headed there. I mean, it was always headed there since it’s a film adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ridiculous musical about how singing can get you (a cat) to heaven (like American Idol with actual stakes) studded with stars as varied as Taylor Swift and Judi Dench. And yet, it somehow looks even worse than its concept. A true thrill!
And now we have further indication that a certain lack of awareness is steering this car right into a tire fire. In an interview with Cosmopolitan, Rebel Wilson has shared her thoughts on why people said, “Oh my god,” after the trailer dropped earlier this month. And I can say with confidence... this is not why people said, “Oh my god.”
Regarding what she talked about with co-star Taylor Swift on set, Wilson revealed, “More that came up was us pretending to be cats and the challenges with that. That was more what we talked about.” Did they ever stop talking then?
Taylor Swift, Jason Derulo, Jennifer Hudson and a slew of other megastars channel their inner feline for the upcoming film adaptation of Cats. In a new featurette released on Tuesday (Sept. 10), the cast talks about the preparation process.
“If you told me I was going to get to be a cat for work...what?” Swift exclaimed, as scenes flash of her moving her arms in claw-like motions in rehearsals. The clip shows all the actors and dancers working together to create the lifelike catified scenes portrayed in the film.
"Trying to find a balance between learning new steps and new genres," Derulo, who is used to choreography in his own music, said of the new type of dance he picked up for the film.
"Artistically, we feed off of each other," Hudson added.
Well, get ready for another transcendent experience with a second look at the movie about singing cats who look like humans. Since the curtain opened on Cats, we’ve come to terms with the hybrid performers and brushed up on just what the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical is exactly. Taylor Swift also debuted a new song entitled “Beautiful Ghosts” — gotta give the Academy something original to run for that Oscar! — and we learned that the Cats twitter only follows an account called “Red Laser Pointer.”
Unlike the other trailer, which was set to that one song from Cats that everyone knows (“Memory”), the new spot shows off the cats doing cat-like things. They lick! One of them yells “MILLLLLLLK!!!” really loudly. It also dives deeper into the world of the Jellicle Cats, with Judi Dench’s Old Deuteronomy talking about picking that special cat that will be reborn. They all look more ... naked?
Cats stars an ensemble cats cast that includes Judi Dench, Jennifer Hudson, Taylor Swift, James Corden, Idris Elba, Jason Derulo, Rebel Wilson, and Ian McKellen. The movie pounces into theaters on Dec. 20.
During an interview with Empire, Hooper talked about the response to the first Cats trailer, claiming “I was just so fascinated because I didn’t think it was controversial at all. So it was quite entertaining". He went on to confirm the CGI was at an early development stage in the original trailer, saying the film's visual effects artists found "in the extremity in some of the responses, some clues in how to keep evolving [the production]" and adding that some of the cats' designs "have moved on since then, and certainly our understanding of how to use the technology to make them work has gone up, too".
A second Cats trailer released earlier this month, offering a better look at the film's nearly-finalized CGI and visual effects in the process. The actual look of the cats hasn't changed much since the initial trailer, however, so it's not as though Hooper and his crew did a major CGI redesign (a la Paramount's Sonic the Hedgehog movie) in response to the backlash. If anything, they appear to have fine-tuned the "digital fur technology" enough to ensure the cast look like convincing humanoid felines (or as convincing as they could possibly be) and not CGI creations with human faces awkwardly pasted onto them. As a result, the general response to the movie's visuals haven't changed a whole lot either, and probably won't be all that different once people get to see the finished film next month.
Interestingly, Casts is the second December release in as many years that's made unconventional use of motion-capture CGI, following 2018's Welcome to Marwen. That movie went on to become a critical and commercial bomb (and was also distributed by Universal, like Cats), but the enduring popularity of the Broadway stage show alone should prevent Hooper's musical from suffering a similar fate at the box office. Even so, it will be interesting (nay, fascinating) to see just what people make of Cats itself - be they longtime fans or newcomers who're morbidly curious to find out what all the commotion is about.