Universal Pictures has released a first look featurette for Tom Hooper’s “Cats,” a big screen adaptation of the beloved hit Broadway musical. It stars James Corden, Judi Dench, Jason Derulo, Idris Elba, Jennifer Hudson, Ian McKellen, Taylor Swift, Rebel Wilson and introduces Royal Ballet principal dancer Francesca Hayward. “Cats,” which first premiered nearly four decades ago on stage, is the story of a group of cats called “the Jelicles” who make a choice deciding which cat will ascend to the Heaviside Layer and come back to a new life.
The featurette takes a peek at the extensive behind-the-scenes work as its stars and performers rehearse and perfect their stage moves under the direction of Tony-winning choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler (“Hamilton,” “In the Heights”). Swift touches on the devoted work on set, explaining her rush to rehearsal straight from her own singing tour. You can see some of the film’s biggest set piece objects as Idris Elba explains the scale of the film’s impressive production. Having a musical where its performers are all cats calls for attention to detail. As the clip shows, digital fur technology was used to create a closely realistic covering of fur on its cast. “This film is an event,” Jennifer Hudson says.
The musical world premiered at the New London Theatre in 1981, garnered the Olivier and Evening Standard Awards for Best Musical. In 1983, “Cats” received seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical, and ran for 18 years, establishing it as one of theater’s best productions.
“At the center of this incredibly entertaining, comedic, fantastical musical is a very timely story about the importance of inclusion and redemption.” – Tom Hooper
From the grand scale Broadway stage to actual grand scale set pieces, Hooper’s film has been thoroughly primed for the biggest of releases. Hooper is a sole Oscar winner for his directing on “The King’s Speech,” which also won the BAFTA for Best British Film. His past work includes the Oscar-winning dramas “The Danish Girl” and the musical drama “Les Misérables.” He now envisions the longest-running Broadway musical with a diverse cast and crew and perhaps will surprise audiences with a spectacle.