How to stop Taylor Swift from turning Cats: The Movie into a dog’s dinner

With a big-screen adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s feline musical under way, here’s how #MeToo, Zac Efron and DJ Khaled could make purrfect movie memories

A Cats movie is happening. Yes, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical, the Hamilton of its day, will begin shooting with Taylor Swift, James Corden and Jennifer Hudson on board. Aside from the eclectic feline cast, it’s a film with big credentials: The King’s Speech director Tom Hooper will bring it to life, with Lee Hall of Billy Elliot fame on screenplay duty.

For the uninitiated, the musical involves a load of cats prancing about singing songs about themselves, and then it ends. A bit like a Taylor Swift album. Which brings us to the preposterous news that Tay Tay has bagged a starring role. Much has been made of her cat lady status, but after the me-centric theme of Reputation the woman practically identifies as feline. One that throws the public celebrity scraps like Dreamies, flavoured with Kim Kardashian, Katy Perry and Tom Hiddleston. If she left a puddle on the carpet, she’d probably narrow her eyes, blame Perry and walk off as if nothing had happened.

The news that the plum role of Grizabella the Glamour Cat has gone to Jennifer Hudson must have been enough to make T-Swizzle fall off her inflatable swan. After slaying in Dreamgirls, Hudson is an obvious choice for the big Elaine Paige moment, but she won’t even get halfway through Memory before Taylor crashes in with a Reverse Kanye. “I’mma let you finish,” she’ll purr, before belting out a Shake It Off/Look What You Made Me Do mash-up and then telling her side of the story on James Corden’s chatshow, or cat show, if you will. (Of course he is on board. Just don’t conjure up that mental image of him licking his own arse in a leotard).

Pussycat roles … Nicole Scherzinger as Grizabella in the 2014 London stage production of Cats.
Pussycat roles … Nicole Scherzinger as Grizabella in the 2014 London stage production of Cats. Photograph: Tristram Kenton/The Guardian

Since Cats premiered in 1981, the species has moved on. Moggies don’t stalk the streets sniffing out fish bones any more; they post YouTube videos of themselves all cute-eyed giving it the “Can I haz Cheezburger?” If they are to take on human characteristics in the movie version, Mr Mistoffelees needs to have been touched by the paw of #MeToo, while Grizabella would be a washed-up hoofer who is taken under Sinitta’s wing on Celebrity Big Brother. Originally, she was a dishevelled old pussy, but since Nicole Scherzinger and Leona Lewis had a crack at the stage role she’s been restyled as a glamour puss.

The time for a Cats movie is now, on the trail of Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again softening up cinema audiences and The Greatest Showman becoming a freakish surprise box office hit. But have the makers of Cats learned nothing from the Showman’s success? No musical is complete without Zac Efron, the shirt-averse former teen star who practically reinvented interest in the modern musical. Rope in Russell Brand as Rum Tum Tugger and swap the flute solos for a DJ Khaled remix and you’ve got a hit right there.


Hannah Verdier

The GuardianTramp

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