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Cats, man. Talk about a movie that’s sparked such a coal fire of response, especially when it came to the film’s first look revealed earlier this summer. As if the Andrew Lloyd Webber adaptation of T.S. Eliot’s rather eccentric collection of poems wasn’t weird enough, the art style of human and cat being fused together was something that most definitely turned heads. But to director Tom Hooper, this wasn’t a disappointment, or even a big shock. If anything, the man behind The King’s Speech and Les Miserables felt more curious about the hoopla than anything else.
Recently, Hooper revealed his thoughts on the internet field day that was had by all to be the following:
I was just so fascinated because I didn’t think it was controversial at all. So it was quite entertaining. Cats was apparently the number-one trending topic in the world, for a good few hours at least.
It’s certainly an interesting way to look at the moment that saw everyone both shocked and awed by just how Cats looked in its first glimpse shown to the masses. But considering that Tom Hooper has been living and breathing this project, and knew that those initial responses were to an earlier build of the film’s visual effects, it’s no surprise that it wasn’t all that huge of deal to him. Especially because those pointers given by the people were instrumental to Cats’ continued development.
Tom Hooper told Empire not only about how this reaction initially struck him, but ultimately how the more extreme reactions to the look of Cats helped his team to continue to carve out the final look of those infamous characters for the finished product. Though it’s not unclear if those changes were visible in the second trailer to the film which was released more recently. Should that be the case, the online response really hasn’t change all that much.
But even in the face of a potential opening weekend that could fall between $10 - $20 million, and in the shadow of an allegedly incredible figure for a production budget, Tom Hooper and his Cats team don’t seem to phased by the weirdness that this film seems to exude. Even one of its stars, award winning recording artist Taylor Swift, seems to be drawn to the madness that Cats represents.
Which has to make us wonder: isn’t that the film’s biggest draw to begin with? Cats has always been, and always will be, regarded as an ultimately weird enterprise. You don’t make Broadway history by playing it safe, and Andrew Lloyd Webber certainly ran in the direction of that notion when first crafting the show in 1980. If there was a more “traditional” execution of this story, would have been as popular? Would Tom Hooper’s story of Cats as a trending topic have ever happened?
The fact is that what we’ve seen come out of Cats, no matter how weird it may seem, is par for the course. And you get to walk that course yourself when the film comes out on December 20th; provided of course you aren’t already otherwise booked in the realm of cinematic whimsy that very weekend. You may want to check the 2019 release schedule one last time, just to make sure you aren’t forgetting anything.