Universal Studios dropped a full-length trailer of the live-action film adaptation of the 1981 musical Cats.
The movie, directed by Tom Hooper, is set to be released in December 2019. Hooper is known for his work with The King’s Speech and The Danish Girl.
The musical adaptation stars Idris Elba as Macavity, Rebel Wilson as Jennyanydots, James Cordon as Bustopher Jones, Jennifer Hudson as Grizabella, Judi Dench as Old Deuteronomy, and Ian McKellen as Gus the Theatre Cat.
Aside from the actors, the movie will feature artists like Jason Derulo and Taylor Swift, playing Rum Tum Tugger and Bombalurina, respectively. Francesca Hayward, a ballerina in the Royal Ballet, will be featured as Victoria. In the movie, Hayward’s shy cat character will have a ballet solo.
Cast members like McKellen and Swift promoted the release of the trailer in their social media platforms. McKellen encouraged fans to check out the trailer released on Friday. Swift posted a photo of the glittery bottle with a catnip label with a caption “Friday,” adding a tag of the movie’s official Twitter account.
The musical is all about a tribe of cats called Jellicles. The group comes together and works on an annual life-changing ball. Once a year, the leader of the clowder chooses one cat who will be reborn based on their belief that cats have nine lives.
Cats is one of the longest-running Broadway musicals. It brought to life songs like Memory, The Rum Tum Tugger, and Mr. Mistoffelees. The music was composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber based on T.S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats.
The musical was a worldwide success for its great composition and ensemble performances. In 1994, it earned over $2 billion worldwide.
In Broadway or West End production, actors don heavy amounts of make-up and lavish costumes to portray real-life cats. The costumes make use of fur to have the feel and look of our feline friends.
However, in the trailer released, the director and the studio forewent extensive costumes and opted for computer-generated imagery or CGI. According to Time, Hooper referred to it as an all-important “digital fur technology.”
Fans have long-awaited the film adaptation. However, not all were pleased with Hooper’s “digital fur” vision. Fans took to Twitter about their thoughts on the newly-released trailers. Twitter users have already created memes using screenshots from the trailer.
Comments about the actors’ faces being disfigured from too much digital modification. Some say that you need to take a second look to identify who the actors were in the movie.
Others criticized the film adding digital breasts on the characters, which is a ploy to make the characters look “sexy.” Others also pointed out that the cats were too small when scenes showed them inside a house and a theater.
Broadway Musicals with Film Adaptations
Cats is not the only musical film adaptation that received criticisms from fans.
In 2007, the film version of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street was criticized for casting Johnny Depp before the movie’s released. Fans feared that Depp’s amateur singing would greatly affect the outcome of the film. However, because of the theme’s dark tone, Depp’s portrayal of the twisted demon barber overshadowed any expectations of his singing.
This was not the case for Russell Crowe when he got the role of Javert in Les Miserables. Fans criticized Crowe’s singing and wrong interpretation of the character. A film critic said that when Javert is supposed to shout with a booming voice, Crowe decides to speak in whispers.
Hooper also directed Les Miserables. Fans are quite intrigued if Cats will be the director’s redeeming chance with musical adaptations.
Despite not hitting all highs with Broadway fans when it comes to film adaptations, fans keep on clamoring for more.
Recently, Hollywood has taken on this trend of creating live-action film adaptations. Disney has released musicals such as Beauty and Beast and Aladdin. The studio’s live-action take of Lion King has just been released.
However, Broadway musicals have been adapted to film way before the Disney trend. Notable Broadway performances such as Rent, The Sound of Music, and West Side Story have been adapted for the silver screen.
Other than Cats, Broadway hit Wicked is also rumored to have a film adaptation.