Andrew Lloyd Webber says he hated the film Cats so much he bought a dog

Composer says one good thing that came out of the big screen version of his stage musical was ‘my little Havanese puppy’

Andrew Lloyd Webber has admitted he hated the 2019 film adaptation of his smash-hit musical Cats so much he bought a dog.

The composer has never shied away from expressing his distaste with Tom Hooper’s star-studded and much-maligned big screen version of the stage musical.

In an interview with Variety earlier this week, Lloyd Webber went one step further, describing the film as “off-the-scale all wrong” while joking it left him so “emotionally damaged” he bought a dog in order to recover.

“There wasn’t really any understanding of why the music ticked at all. I saw it and I just thought, ‘Oh, God, no.’ It was the first time in my 70-odd years on this planet that I went out and bought a dog,” the musical impresario said. “So the one good thing to come out of it is my little Havanese puppy.”

Andrew Lloyd Webber
Andrew Lloyd Webber said he hated the 2019 film Cats so much he bought a dog. Photograph: UPI/Alamy

Hooper’s CGI film interpretation was a widely regarded critical and commercial flop, described by Lloyd Webber at the time as “ridiculous” and “absolutely un-Eliot”. Despite the all-star cast, it was named worst film of the year at the 40th Golden Raspberry Awards.

Lloyd Webber, however, continues to find comfort in his dog. The furry companion has even provided support during lockdown and will accompany the 73-year-old on future trips to New York.

Explaining how he would bring his pet to the city, Lloyd Webber said he asked an airline if they could make an exception.

“I wrote off and said I needed him with me at all times because I’m emotionally damaged and I must have this therapy dog,” the composer said.

“The airline wrote back and said, ‘Can you prove that you really need him?’ And I said ‘Yes, just see what Hollywood did to my musical “Cats.”’ Then the approval came back with a note saying, ‘No doctor’s report required.’”

Throughout the pandemic, Lloyd Webber campaigned for theaters to be reopened and is optimistic that London and New York’s theater districts will be welcoming back audiences.

“It’s slightly overwhelming, and it’s very emotional,” he told Variety. “This is my life. And for the past 16 months or so, the thing that one loves most in the world was taken away.”


Samantha Lock

The GuardianTramp

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