The trailer for the Cats movie, from Les Misérables director Tom Hooper, has arrived, and Twitter is exploding with less largely less-than-favorable but hilarious reactions. Since Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical Cats is based on a series of T.S. Eliot’s poems with only the thin plot of Grizabella coming to terms with old age and eventually journeying to the Heavyside Layer as the central narrative thread, the trailer that features big stars including Jennifer Hudson, Taylor Swift, Jason Derulo, Judy Dench, Ian McKellen, James Corden, Rebel Wilson, and Idris Elba wearing nothing but “digital fur technology” looks like a cat-to-human-size fever dream. On the upside, Cats went meta and put Swift (pictured above) in kitten heels.
An Oscar winner for Dreamgirls, Hudson plays Grizabella, the aging cat who eventually ascends to the Heavyside Layer. And, of course, she gets to belt the mega-number “Memory.”
Elba plays Macavity the Mystery Cat, while Derulo channels the contrarian Rum Tum Tugger, and McKellen steps into Gus the Theatre Cat. Meanwhile, Dench plays the sage elder Old Deuteronomy, a role that has by and large been reserved for men.
Swift is playing Bombalurina, a cat who doesn’t have a song named after her, but she does sing plenty of numbers along with other characters. Wilson plays Jennyanydots, whose story is told in the song “The Old Gumbie Cat.”
While many of the stars of Cats aren’t known for their world-class dancing, Hooper has cast dozens of professional modern and ballet dancers including Francesca Haywood, who is the principal dancer at the Royal Ballet.
One of the longest-running shows on Broadway and in London’s West End, Cats is beloved by many, but the trailer has not inspired confidence in Twitter users that it's going to rise above the conceit of trying to mount it as a film in the first place.