Movie musicals have always been a tried and true genre of filmmaking. In the modern era, these type of blockbusters typically arrive around Awards Season, allowing actors to rack up nominations and awards for their ability to bring stage characters to life on the big screen. We've seen this in notable movies like Chicago, Dreamgirls, and Les Miserables. The latter was directed by Tom Hooper, with the project earning a whopping eight Oscar nominations and winning three.
Tom Hooper is bringing his director's vision back to the musical genre with Cats, adapting the beloved Andrew Lloyd Webber classic onto film for the first time. Hooper has assembled an all-star cast to play the Jellicles, and a set video recently teased the wild spectacle of the blockbuster. But now we've got an official trailer, and you can see the various feline characters come to life below.
Holy wow. Just how director Tom Hooper was going to bring Cats to life was largely a mystery, but now his method is clear. Rather than the typical costumes and makeup from the show's Broadway run, it seems that the feline appearance of the cast is happening thanks to some cutting edge visual affects.
The Cats trailer opens on Francesca Hayward's Victoria, the white cat. The part is usually only brought to life through dance, but it's clear that Victoria is going to be the protagonist kitty by which we meet the rest of the Jellicles. Dance is still at the heart of the character as well, and Hayward is a principal ballet dancer who is making her big screen debut in Cats.
Casual moviegoers might not be familiar with Francesca Hayward's work, but they'll recognize all the other kitties that will occupy the space and flesh out the cast. Top Hooper assembled a stellar cast, not dissimilar to what he did with his adaptation of Les Miserables. Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson is playing Grizabella, and we can hear her goosebumps-inducing rendition of "Memory" throughout this first trailer.
There's a ton of musical talent attached to the project including the likes of Idris Elba (he has albums, look it up), Jason Derulo, and pop princess Taylor Swift. Swift is surprisingly not featured very heavily in this first trailer, playing the role of feisty cat Bombalurina. Then again, the extensive visual affects make it hard to discern the faces shown in this first trailer, so it's not like those hardcore T Swift fans are missing much.
There's also some legendary actors involved in Cats, namely Ian McKellen and Dame Judi Dench. Both appear briefly in this first trailer, taking on colorful unique feline personas in their own wright. Additionally, Tom Hooper got some comedic royalty involved as well, in the form of James Corden and Rebel Wilson. Both actors have done movie musicals before, and their characters look like they'll be real scene stealers once Cats arrives this Holiday Season. Wilson's likeness was captured quite well in this first trailer, and you can see a glimpse of the comedic chops she'll bring to the character Jennyanydots.
For those unfamiliar, Cats is an iconic part of composer Andrew Lloyd Webber's catalogue, alongside Broadway hits like Phantom of the Opera and Jesus Christ Superstar. The show takes place over the course of one night, where the Jellicle cats must decide which among them will ascend to Heaviside Layer, and the next stage of life. Each one of the cats gets a song of their own, so we should expect to see each A-Lister get their time to shine when Cats is released.
Cats is currently set to arrive in theaters on December 20th, 2019. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.
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Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Graduated with degrees theater and literature from Ramapo College of New Jersey. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid. He's particularly proud of covering horror franchises like Scream and Halloween, as well as movie musicals like West Side Story. Favorite interviews include Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee, Jamie Lee Curtis, and more.