In Tom Hooper’s feature film adaptation of Cats, audiences will get to hear the beloved songs of that popular musical brought to life on the big screen through the vocal talents of the film’s all-star cast. While fans of the West End and Broadway musical might think they’ve heard it all before and don’t need to see the film, there will be some original music as well. Case in point, listen to the new song Taylor Swift wrote for Cats with Andrew Lloyd Webber below.
When Taylor Swift was cast in Cats, we knew that she would be bringing her singing chops to the character of Bombalurina on the big screen, but as we see here, she brought her songwriting talents as well. The musician teamed up with Andrew Lloyd Webber, the composer who delivered the musical the film is based, to write an brand-new original song for the film.
Andrew Lloyd Webber wrote the music, so there is some continuity there with the songs of the original musical. When Webber played the new music for Taylor Swift, she immediately wrote the lyrics for it. By the sound of it, Taylor Swift actually went back to read T.S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, the 1939 poetry collection Andrew Lloyd Webber based the musical on.
The Cats musical is almost 40 years old and T.S. Eliot’s poems are 80 years old, so the singing star/actress wanted to write something that fit with that original work and wasn’t too modern. Tay Tay also joked about herself as T.S. filling in for T.S. Eliot.
What the two came up with was “Beautiful Ghosts.” You don’t get to hear the song in its entirety in this video, but what you do hear is a haunting and somber song that seems to fit in well with the rest of the music in the film, as far as I can tell based on the first trailer. Director Tom Hooper also seemed particularly impressed with “Beautiful Ghosts” and how much it captured his vision for the film.
While some purists will likely object to Cats having new music, believing that the original music is fine as is, this video from the film’s official Twitter account actually makes a good case for why a new song was necessary. The story in Tom Hooper’s film is told through the eyes of Victoria, who in the movie is played by ballerina Francesca Hayward. However, that character doesn’t have a solo in the musical.
Therefore, Andrew Lloyd Webber felt that it was important that there be a new song for Victoria. The reasoning makes sense because it would be strange for the character who takes the central role in a musical to not get her own song. And so Cats receives a new song from Andrew Lloyd Webber and Taylor Swift.
It sounds like Francesca Hayward will be singing “Beautiful Ghosts” in the film itself, with Taylor Swift handling the vocals for the studio version of the song that audiences will find on the film’s soundtrack.
Taylor Swift won’t be the only one bringing her musical talents to bear in this film. Cats also stars Francesca Hayward, Idris Elba, Rebel Wilson, Ian McKellen, Judi Dench, James Corden and Jennifer Hudson.
In a major counterprogramming play, Cats dances into theaters on December 20, opposite Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Check out our 2019 Release Schedule to see what other movies you can look forward to this year.