Consider this your official invitation to the Jellicle Ball.
Universal unveiled the first look at its upcoming Cats movie at Wednesday’s CinemaCon presentation in Las Vegas. Tom Hooper (Les Miserables) is directing the film, based on Andrew Lloyd Webber’s long-running musical.
The film wrapped earlier this week, and the star-studded cast includes Jennifer Hudson as Grizabella, Judi Dench as Old Deuteronomy, Ian McKellen as Gus the Theater Cat, James Corden as Bustopher Jones, Idris Elba as Macavity, Rebel Wilson as Jennyanydots, Jason Derulo as the Rum Tum Tugger, and Taylor Swift — yes, that Taylor Swift — as Bombalurina.
Universal chair Donna Langley told the audience that footage wasn’t ready yet because it requires so much visual effects, but they showed a behind the scenes featurette with every cast member. The footage featured Swift, Elba, and other cast members dancing in rehearsal, as well as on set in motion capture suits.
“My first memories of musical theater actually bring me to my first memories of wanting to be a performer in any capacity,” Swift said in the featurette, adding, “Being in a musical with Tom directing, I’m just so honored to get to be a part of this.”
The footage audiences saw showed the actors in mo-cap suits (with fur and tails to be added later), dancing around household sets. The sets are enormous with chairs, doors, and other furniture scaled up to make the actors appear cat-sized. “We spent a very long time observing cats or learning how to be a cat,” said Dench.
Hudson closed out the presentation with a live performance of Cats’ headline song “Memory,” sparking cheers from the audience.
Cats will hit theaters Dec. 20.
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Cats (2019 movie)