Under the Jellicle moon, anything is possible, and that includes a renowned interpreter of the classics, an R&B star, a Royal Ballet principal dancer, and more coming together under the same roof. The cast has their own respective areas of expertise, but filming the Cats movie was a uniting experience that allowed each of them to go back to their roots.
"I'm a theatre kid," Jason Derulo (who plays Rum Tum Tugger) explains in the video above. "I was very familiar with Cats. But never did I think, 'Rum Tum Tugger, that's the perfect role for me.' I think it's the perfect bridge from going from music to what I want to do on the film side."
Just as the Jellicle Ball shows off the myriad talents of a variety of felines, from tap dancing to conjuring to screlting, the movie allows artists of several different backgrounds to collectively tell a story about redemption, tribalism, and, above all, cats. "Normally on a job, you'll just be with other actors," says Laurie Davidson, the alum of TNT's Will who plays Mr. Mistoffelees. "But what's so lovely, I found, was to see how dancers create, the way our singers create. They all bring something very different. All of these elements have been thrown into the mix to create something new."
"You tumble all those stars together in a salad, and one taste is bound to overpower the rest," says Ian McKellen. "No, it didn't work like that. It was a group; it was a company. All hail [director] Tom Hooper, who put us together."
And as any true ensemble, many cast members split their time between the spotlight and supporting other key players, from Rum Tum Tugger busting out high notes during "Magical Mr. Mistoffelees" to Jennyanydots saving her fellow felines from the lurking Macavity. Jennifer Hudson gets to belt out "Memory," but the cold interactions with her fellow cats and taking in the Jellicle Ball from afar are also moments important to Grizabella's journey.
"When I did get to be amongst the rest of the cast," the Oscar winner says, "it inspired me so much. Getting to see the dancers embody the cat movement helped my cat."
Cats arrives in theatres December 20.