Jason Derulo Thought Cats Would Be His 'Perfect' First Movie

Jason Derulo as Rum Tug Tugger in Cats
(Image credit: (Universal))

Tom Hooper’s Cats is one magical, mythical mystery we may never fully understand. When we heard about the cast made up of the dignified Judi Dench and Ian McKellen, hilarious Rebel Wilson and James Corden, and showstopping Taylor Swift and Jennifer Hudson, among others, it had the makings of a huge Broadway hit to the tune of Hooper’s previous musical adaptation, Les Miserables. The film’s Rum Tug Tugger, Jason Derulo, admits he believed his addition to the cast would be the best first step for him as a film actor. In his words:

For the longest time, I was trying to figure out what’s the perfect first role. Cats checked all the boxes. You can’t get a more star-studded cast, you don’t get a more respected director than an Oscar winner, and Rum Tum Tugger is a legacy role, a standout character in a classic musical. Even when I saw the trailer, I got chills down my spine! I thought it was gonna change the world.

Mmm… whatcha say? Change the world? Okay, I’ll admit, I’ve never been quite the same since the night I watched Cats, but not in the same way it sounds like the 30-year-old pop singer had hoped for. Jason Derulo’s words to The Telegraph don’t sound as outlandish if you brush away the memory of the film for a second and look at the facts: the Broadway show is still a hit these days, Derulo was among an incomparably talented cast, and the last time Tom Hooper made a musical, Anne Hathaway won an Oscar.

Sadly, Cats has been strapped into quite the woozy rollercoaster since its first trailer dropped last summer and viewers were put off by its CGI vision. After the reactions, Tom Hooper decided to make a round of changes to the visuals, but he waited until the night before the film’s premiere to have the movie ready. And then he sent an updated version to theaters after it had already been released. Jason Derulo once said he was “125 percent sure” his penis was edited out of the movie musical, and anonymous editors claimed there was a “Butthole Cut” of the film at some point where the cats were given… you guessed it, buttholes.

Cats ended up making only $73.7 million worldwide on a $100 million production budget, and it received a 20% overall Rotten Tomatoes score from critics. And its placement on the same weekend as The Rise of Skywalker could not have helped. Jason Derulo defended the reviews shortly after the release, comparing its response to what the Andrew Lloyd Webber Broadway musical had when it first hit the stage. Unfortunately, ALW isn’t on the side of Tom Hooper’s version – he apparently “begged” the filmmakers to cut out portions of the film.

Jason Derulo didn’t find the perfect role to set off his cinematic acting career, but now the singer said he “can’t wait for the perfect moment” anymore and is going to move forward by just going “for the gold." He's taking that quite literally since he is portraying Isley Brothers lead singer Ronald Isley in the coming biopic Spinning Gold next.

Is the lesson learned here that one shouldn't sign up to play a human cat? Or maybe do? Cats could go on to become the kind of cult classic The Room and Showgirls are remembered as. Stay tuned here on CinemaBlend for more updates on movies.

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.