First Trailer for ‘Cats’ Reveals Tom Hooper’s Ambitious, VFX-Infused Musical Adaptation

Universal Pictures has released the first Cats trailer for Oscar-winning The King’s Speech director Tom Hooper’s ambitious adaptation of the long-running Broadway musical. The film boasts a star-studded ensemble led by Jennifer Hudson, James Corden, and Taylor Swift, but instead of using makeup to make the actors look like cats, Hooper and his team have utilized cutting-edge performance-capture technology to transform the cast into entirely CG felines.

Hooper—who previously brought an unnecessary gritty realism to Les Miserables on the big screen to mixed results—co-wrote the Cats screenplay with Lee Hall (Billy Elliot), and the film boasts extravagant production design while showcasing dance styles that range from ballet to contemporary, hip-hop to jazz, street to tap.

When Judi Dench shows up looking like a human-cat hybrid, I fucking lost it. Oscar-winner Judi Dench looks like some CGI nightmare and I couldn’t stop laughing. Let’s set aside the fact that Cats is just a bad musical. With the exception of “Memories” (which this trailer leans on hard), the songs are bad, and it has no plot. The entirety of Cats is a bunch of cats introducing themselves and then it just kind of ends. And along comes Tom Hooper to be like, “That’s great, but what if we made a bunch of actors look horrifying?” This is going to be such a train wreck.

Here’s the official synopsis for Cats:

Oscar®-winning director Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech, Les Misérables, The Danish Girl) transforms Andrew Lloyd Webber’s record-shattering stage musical into a breakthrough cinematic event. Cats stars James Corden, Judi Dench, Jason Derulo, Idris Elba, Jennifer Hudson, Ian McKellen, Taylor Swift, Rebel Wilson and introduces Royal Ballet principal dancer Francesca Hayward in her feature film debut. Featuring Lloyd Webber’s iconic music and a world-class cast of dancers under the guidance of Tony-winning choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler (Hamilton, In the Heights), the film reimagines the musical for a new generation with spectacular production design, state-of-the-art technology, and dance styles ranging from ballet to contemporary, hip-hop to jazz, street to tap. Universal Pictures presents a Working Title Films and Amblin Entertainment production, in association with Monumental Pictures and The Really Useful Group. Cats is produced by Debra Hayward, Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner and Tom Hooper. The screenplay is by Lee Hall (Billy Elliot, Rocketman) and Hooper, based on Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats by T.S. Eliot and the stage musical by Lloyd Webber. Cats is executive produced by Lloyd Webber, Steven Spielberg, Angela Morrison and Jo Burn. One of the longest-running shows in West End and Broadway history, the stage musical “Cats” received its world premiere at the New London Theatre in 1981, where it played for 21 years and earned the Olivier and Evening Standard Awards for Best Musical. In 1983, the Broadway production became the recipient of seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical, and ran for an extraordinary 18 years. Since opening in London in 1981, “Cats” has continuously appeared on stage around the globe, to date having played to 81 million people in more than fifty countries and in nineteen languages. It is regarded as one of the most successful musicals of all time.

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