There are a lot more “Cats” roaming in Hollywood than you probably thought. At least, a lot more of them are British than expected. However, considering British writer/director Andrew Lloyd Webber adapted the musical, the tie makes more sense. The famed Broadway musical “Cats” began in the West End before coming to America, where it launched to global popularity. Now, an all-star cast continues to join the upcoming Universal movie adaptation. Just days after Idris Elba joined the fray, another great British thespian signed on. Welcome Judi Dench to the large ensemble.
According to Deadline, Dame Judi Dench has signed on to contribute to the cast. She joins fellow Brits Elba, Ian McKellen, and James Cordon. This also works as an interesting reuniting of Dench to the original source material. She was meant to originate the role of Grizabella in the West End Production in 1981. She was forced to drop out of the production just weeks before its premiere. While Dench does not always come to mind when you think musicals, she has proven rather good in some in the past. One such example is her performance in “Nine,” another large ensemble musical film.
In the new “Cats” adaptation, she will play Old Deuteronomy. Old Deuteronomy will be gender swapped for Dench, but no one will complain about that. Deuteronomy chooses which cat will be reborn, but Macavity kidnaps the sage cat. With Elba playing Macavity, we could get some good scenes between the two.
Dench is still working hard on other films, including “Artemis Fowl” and “Red Joan” out in 2019. Her long and illustrious career also includes a notorious Oscar win for only eight minutes of screen time. Considering “Cats” will feature a star-studded cast, grabbing one of the bigger roles is not a bad thing.