Everything You Need to Know About the New Cats Movie

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Cats, one of Broadway's most beloved musicals, is making its way to the big screen for the second time. Considering that the musical dates back to 1982 and is one of the longest-running musicals of all time, it's safe to say fans are excited for the story to return to the screen.

Here is everything you need to know about Cats before its December release.

When is the movie coming out?

Last year, Universal and Working Title announced that the film, based on the award–winning musical composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber, will arrive in theaters on December 20, 2019.

What will the movie be about?

Cats is based on the book Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats, by American poet T.S. Eliot. Written between 1936 and 1938, the book provided a humorous and entertaining look into the lives of a group of cats called the Jellicle cats, who each have a distinctive personality and are quite a lot like humans. The action of the musical takes place on the night of the annual Jellicle Ball, when the cats tell their life stories to their leader, Old Deuteronomy.

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Who is starring in the movie?

Cats is set to have an all-star cast. According to Deadline, James Corden (Bustopher Jones), Jennifer Hudson (Grizabella), Judi Dench (Old Deutronomy), Rebel Wilson (Jennyanydots), Idris Elba (Macavity), Ian McKellen (Gus the Theatre Cat), Jason Derulo (Rum Tum Tugger), Francesca Hayward (Victoria), and professional cat lover Taylor Swift (Bombalurina) all have roles in the film.

See behind-the-scenes footage from set, as well as some of the actors discussing their love of the musical in this featurette:

How are the actors preparing for their roles?

During an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in February, Wilson discussed how filming for the project is going, and how her other castmates plan on bringing their characters to life. Turns out, they have to go to school.

“It’s pretty interesting to be a cat all day,” she said. “We do have to go to cat school, which is where we all just pretend to be cats together,” she explained, and stated that she's joined by Swift, McKellen, Dench, Elba, and Corden for their daily cat lessons.

In November 2018, McKellen joked during an appearance on The Graham Norton Show that he was trying to tap into his "inner pussy" for his role as Gus the Theatre Cat, admitting that he wasn't doing a very good job. “At the moment, I’m looking for the inner pussy, the moggy-ness that’s within us all. Not doing very well at it,” he said. (“Moggy,” in case you're wondering, is English slang for “cat.”) “I thought of going on a cat diet, you know, just eating cat food, seeing if that helped. And I’ve always thought that tinned cat food smelled as if it might be rather tasty—it isn’t.”

Will the movie be a live-action remake?

Kind of. The actors will appear as themselves, and according to Universal's official statement about the movie's release, director Tom Hooper is employing “astonishing new technology to transform his cast members.” See the trailer below for what the humanoid cat forms looks like. However, if you've seen Cats live, you'll know that the performers typically wear cat costumes, so it won't look too different from that.

Is there a trailer?

Yes! It dropped in July, and gave fans the first taste of what the film would look like, and the reception was a little mixed. Watch it below:

What other productions of Cats have existed?

Cats debuted as a Broadway musical in 1982. The Tony Award–winning musical, which will serve as the layout of the forthcoming new adaptation, ranks among one of the longest running Broadway musicals of all time, racking up 7,485 performances before it closed in 2000.

Cats was made into a movie in 1998: a direct-to-video rendition of the onstage musical, which was filmed at London's Adelphi Theater. So Hooper's adaptation will be the first time the story has graced the big screen.

Starr Bowenbank Editorial Assistant Starr Bowenbank is the editorial assistant who writes about all things pertaining to news, pop culture, and entertainment—you can follow her here.

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