Universal Pictures and Working Title announced today that principal photography has begun on the Cats film. The groundbreaking new musical film is an adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s global stage-musical sensation and the poems from Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats by T.S. Eliot.
The film stars Tony- and Emmy-winning actor and host James Corden (The Late Late Show with James Corden) as Bustopher Jones, Academy Award-winning actress Judi Dench (Shakespeare in Love) as Old Deuteronomy, multi-platinum-selling singer-songwriter Jason Derulo as Rum Tum Tugger, Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning actor Idris Elba (The Wire, Luther) as Macavity, Academy Award, Golden Globe and Grammy Award-winning artist Jennifer Hudson (Dreamgirls) as Grizabella, Academy Award-nominated actor Ian McKellen (Gods and Monsters) as Gus, Emmy and ten-time Grammy-winning global music icon Taylor Swift, whose Reputation Stadium Tour is the highest-grossing U.S. tour in history, as Bombalurina, comedy superstar Rebel Wilson (the Pitch Perfect franchise) as Jennyanydots, and introduces Francesca Hayward, principal dancer with The Royal Ballet, as Victoria.
Academy Award-winning director Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech, Les Misérables, The Danish Girl) brings astonishing new technology to transform his cast members in a breathtaking, vivid new vision of one of the most beloved musicals of all time.
Adapted for the screen by Hooper and Lee Hall (Billy Elliot), the Cats film is produced by Hooper and Working Title’s Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner, as well as Debra Hayward (Les Misérables), who brought the idea to Working Title. The film will be produced by Working Title Films in association with Monumental Pictures and The Really Useful Group and executive produced by three-time Oscar winner Steven Spielberg, musical theater legend Lloyd Webber, Angela Morrison (Les Misérables) and Jo Burn (Annihilation).
One of the longest-running shows in West End and Broadway history, the London stage production of Cats received its world premiere at the New London Theatre in 1981—where it played for 21 record-breaking years and almost 9,000 performances. Based on T.S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, the show won 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.
Under the guidance of three-time Tony-winning choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler (“Hamilton: An American Musical,” “In the Heights,” “Bandstand”), who also choreographed the 2016 stage revival of “Cats,” the film cast features some of the most exceptional and inspiring professional dancers working today, including hip hop dance sensation Larry and Laurent Bourgeiois (aka Les Twins); former principal dancer for the New York City Ballet and Tony-nominated actor Robbie Fairchild (“An American In Paris”); former soloist of The Royal Ballet Eric Underwood; Mëtte Towley, a member of Pharrell Williams’ acclaimed dance troupe The Baes; Steven McRae, principal of The Royal Ballet; and thrilling, cutting-edge street, freestyle and contemporary dancers from Brazil, France, Philippines, the U.S. and the United Kingdom.
The world-class creative team bringing Cats to the screen includes Oscar-nominated production designer Eve Stewart (The King’s Speech), cinematographer Christopher Ross (Terminal, Room), Oscar-nominated costume designer Paco Delgado (The Danish Girl), Oscar-winning sound mixer Simon Hayes (Les Misérables), BAFTA-winning executive music producer Marius De Vries (Moulin Rouge, Romeo + Juliet) and renowned casting director Lucy Bevan (Ready Player One, Murder on the Orient Express).