From dozing in the sunlight to nesting in cozy corners, cats have a pretty enviable life, but one of the holiday season's most anticipated movies may change people's perspectives about their favorite felines. The movie adaptation of the musical Cats is hitting theaters this December, and the Cats trailer it looks like it'll be the feline fantasy fans are hoping for.
Opening on Broadway in 1982, the musical Cats introduces a story based on T.S. Eliot's Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats. A group of cats known as the Jellicles must decide which of them ascends to the Heaviside Layer and begins another of their nine lives. Like the musical epic Les Miserables, the show is completely sung through, giving theater fans and aspiring actors ample opportunity to reenact scenes with the same passion normally reserved for a jazz dance.
The musical was a hit on Broadway, running until 2000 and returning for a revival production in 2016. While Cats' footloose felines previously sparked discussion for their elaborate costumes and acrobatic dances, the news that the musical would be adapted into a feature film definitely surpassed these Broadway debates. Directed by Les Miserables' Tom Hooper, the Cats film stars talents both new and familiar to working on a movie musical. James Corden, Jennifer Hudson, Taylor Swift, Ian McKellen, Idris Elba, Judi Dench, Rebel Wilson, and Jason Derulo are headlining the ambitious movie, which fans got a peek at when the first trailer launched on July 18.
The trailer is set to Jennifer Hudson's rendition of Cats' most iconic song, "Memory." As she croons, the camera shows the cast in their full feline looks. They prance and dance through an oversized world that's built to imagine what it would be like if humans were cat-sized. A highlight of the high-energy trailer is the sneak peek of Swift hanging from a moon and pouring catnip onto the cats below her. Honestly, that's just one moment among many in a trailer that's truly a feast for the eyes. Fans on Twitter are already having some very strong reactions to the Cats trailer, especially to the experience of seeing their favorite actors in full cat CGI.
In a behind-the-scenes video released days before the trailer debut, the cast discussed their efforts to bring the musical to the big screen. Hooper also explains the story in a way that may appeal to musical theater newbies. "At the center of this incredibly entertaining, comedic, fantastical musical is a very timely story about the importance of inclusion and redemption," he tells cameras.
In the clip, Swift also teases updates to the original story, while Hamilton choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler guides dance numbers that promise uses of ballet, hip-hop, and tap. In 2018, Playbill even reported that Cats composer Andrew Lloyd Webber was writing a new song for the film. As seen in the trailer, the film also utilizes motion-capture technology to completely transform actors into cats. Good luck recreating those looks for your Halloween costume this year.
Cats is in theaters on Friday, Dec. 20, 2019.