Musical theater fans everywhere, this is not a drill! Universal Pictures released a featurette video that confirms Taylor Swift and Andrew Lloyd Webber wrote a song together for the new Cats movie, the adaptation of the original 1981 musical. Webber wrote the music for the Tony Award winning stage production and the rest was history. Until now, that is. Webber and Taylor Swift's new Cats song "Beautiful Ghosts" could mean an Oscar for Best Original Song for T. Swift.
The new movie is set to release on Dec. 20 and TBH, the Cats preview has gotten a lot of frightened responses. I, myself, am a huge fan of musical theater. I've seen the original Cats film, was in a Cats youth production when I was 16, and I know all of the songs. So naturally, when I first heard that they were making a new Cats movie, I was very excited about it. I saw the cast list, and I was optimistic seeing such names as Dame Judy Dench and Sir Ian McKellen. But then I saw the trailer... and now I'm still not so sure about the weird mix of CGI fur and the actors. According to an article from Polygon, Andrew Lloyd Webber explained it away on Good Morning Britain as a new “technique... which isn’t like CGI, but it turns you into a cat.”
The blend has invoked a sense of unease in some fans, but it is still too early to completely write off this new method. Maybe everyone just needs a second to get used to the new look of these cat-people? As a purist, I think that they maybe should have stuck to the OG method of costume cat suits, wigs, and make up work, but that's just me.
Yeah, I'm not sure too sure about the look of this movie yet, but what I am sure about is Webber's stellar songwriting skills and his track record for creating some of the most beloved musical theater songs I've ever heard. So, when I saw this little featurette clip released by Universal Pictures that shows Taylor Swift writing a song for Cats with Andrew Lloyd Webber, I thought I was dreaming.
Webber said in the featurette that "when [he] first read the script" and he realized that "the film is seen through Victoria's eyes, the first thing [he] thought was" a song for the character was "incredibly important" and they needed to write one.
So naturally, he and Swift got together to write the song. Webber first played the music to her, and said "there's [a] new song" and claims the Swift almost immediately wrote the lyrics "then and there."
The new "Beautiful Ghosts" song looks as though it was written to be true to the original Cats soundtrack. In fact, Swift admitted in the clip that "you can't write a modern lyric for Cats," so she tried to get into the mind of T.S. Eliot, since the musical's entire story line is based off of Eliot's Old Possum's Book For Practical Cats, which is an eccentric collection of poetry about the lives of Jellicle cats.
I'm happy to see that the music and lyrics both feel very cohesive with the original musical score. As a huge Webber fan, I am so jealous Swift got to write a song with him — that's an incredible opportunity and one that most theater-lovers can only dream of.
The question here is: will this new song propel Swift to an Oscar's Best Original Song award nomination? Considering that this is a bit of a stretch for her — with the song being quite different from the usual Swift tunes — it very well could mean an Oscar nom. Interestingly enough, the other favorite for this year is another pop star who went feline on the big screen, as Beyoncé's "Spirit" from The Lion King is expected to earn a Best Original Song nom as well. Hmm, it sounds like the Oscars might be a literal cat fight this year!