The naming of cats is a difficult matter. Still, it’s worth keeping track as Grizabella, Mister Mistoffelees, and more jellicles ready for the close-ups.
Yes, Cats is clawing its way to movie theatres with Les Misérables director Tom Hooper at the helm. A host of stars are already tapped to appear in the Working Title film adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber and T.S. Eliot’s feline phenomenon, but several details are being kept under wraps.
Here’s what we do know so far.
What’s a jellicle cat?
Good question! Jellicles do and jellicles can, jellicles can and jellicles do, jellicle cats sing jellicle chants, jellicles old and jellicles new. Does that help?
When is Cats coming out?
The Hooper-directed film is slated to premiere December 20, with production having wrapped at the end of March.
Who’s in it?
The cast includes Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson as Grizabella the Glamour Cat, pop star Taylor Swfit as Bombalurina, stage and screen veteran Ian McKellen as Gus the Theatre Cat, Tony winner James Corden as Bustopher Jones, Tony and Oscar winner Judi Dench as Old Deuteronomy, Rebel Wilson as Jennyanydots, Jason Derulo as Rum Tum Tugger, Robert Fairchild as Munkustrap, Mette Towley as Jemima, Idris Elba as Macavity, and Royal Ballet's Francesca Hayward and Steven McRae as Victoria and Skimbleshanks.
So Taylor Swift and Ian McKellen are really going to be in those furry cat suits?
Is there any other way to do Cats? Actually, there is. Hooper revealed at CinemaCon 2019 that the design of the cats will be achieved through motion capture, meaning that somewhere out there there is footage of Idris Elba sneaking around in a green suit and those dots on his face. In a featurette released ahead of the first trailer, Hooper referred to this process as "Digital Fur Technology," which only leads to more questions.
So, they're dancing humans that will somehow look like dancing cats?
That's the plan, apparently. In fact, Hamilton Tony winner Andy Blankenbuehler is attached (taking over for the previously reported Wayne McGregor) as choreographer, so we can presume that yes, we will actually see some variation of those iconic (if slightly disturbing) feline-human hybrids twirling about.
But they'll be human-sized?
Whoa, slow down there. The cats of Cats will indeed be the size of...cats. Just like in the stage production, oversized set pieces (furniture, kitchen appliances, boots, milk jugs, floating tires, etc.) will help create the illusion of a cat's perspective.
I’ve worn out the cast recording. Are there going to be new songs?
Supposedly, yes. In January 2018, it was reported that Lloyd Webber was at work on a new tune for Victoria, the graceful dancing white cat. The composer is no stranger to reworking his scores for the stage. In fact, he earned an Oscar for the Evita movie’s “You Must Love Me.”
Is there any footage yet?
Ugh, no. But Hudson did belt out "Memory" at the aforementioned CinemaCon. Check out her vocals below. And you can get a taste of rehearsals in the featurette.
Is this really happening?
— Alamo Drafthouse (@alamodrafthouse) April 3, 2019