If you ever caught yourself wondering what happened to the big-screen version of Andrew Lloyd Webster‘s hit musical Cats that was teased back in 2016, well, I can confirm for you today that the project is alive and well. After the success of his 2012 adaptation of Les Misérables, Oscar-winning director Tom Hooper has been looking to bring another Broadway hit to the big screen, and it looks like it has finally come together. According to Deadline, Working Title and Universal’s star-studded film would be headlined by Taylor Swift, Jennifer Hudson, James Corden, and Ian McKellen, from an adaptation penned by Lee Hall (Billy Elliot). Production is set to begin this fall in the UK.
As Dave Trumbore wrote up in the original announcement of the project (nearly two years ago), “Cats was originally based on the T.S. Eliot poetry collection “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats.” The theatrical adaptation first burst onto the scene in 1981 and became the longest-running Broadway show in history until it was surpassed by The Phantom of the Opera in 2006. It’s currently the fourth-longest-running show in Broadway history. A made-for-TV movie was produced in 1998, but Hooper’s version would be the first time the show will be adapted for the big screen.”
Though we don’t know how or if CG will be incorporated into the production at all, or if the effects and makeup will be practical, given Hooper’s succession with Les Mis I think it’s safe to say that the musical is in good hands.
If you aren’t familiar with the story of Cats, here’s the musical’s official synopsis, courtesy of the show’s website:
Based on T. S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, the show is set amongst a larger- than-life junkyard playground and is alive with our favourite feline characters including Rum Tum Tugger, Mr. Mistoffelees, Macavity, Jennyanydots, Old Deuteronomy, Grizabella and Skimbleshanks.
The Jellicle Cats come out to play on one special night of the year – the night of the Jellicle Ball. One by one they tell their stories for the amusement of Old Deuteronomy, their wise and benevolent leader, who must choose one of the Cats to ascend to The Heaviside Layer and be reborn into a whole new Jellicle life.