While the slightly freakish human-cat hybrids may have split the internet after the trailer’s reveal, there’s no denying that the Cats movie features an all-star cast.
Here’s a look at the looong list of famous faces who are taking the classic musical to the big screen – even if they’ll be largely unrecognisable as mutant cat-people…
James Corden is Bustopher Jones
Who is Bustopher Jones? A parody of the Edwardian gentlemen of leisure, the black and white tuxedo cat Bustopher Jones enjoys visiting gentleman’s clubs, fine dining and avoiding trouble. The cheerful cat has his own song, Bustopher Jones, and was memorably played by Brian Blessed in the original London production.
Who is James Corden? James Corden is a big deal in America now hosting The Late Late Show, but he got his big break over here writing for and acting in Gavin and Stacey, as well as hosting The Brits and A League of Their Own. He showed off his surprisingly strong vocals in 2010 FIFA world cup song Shout as well as carpool karaoke, and can next be seen in the Gavin and Stacey Christmas Special.
Judi Dench is Old Deuteronomy
Who is Old Deuteronomy? A male character in the original musical, Old Deuteronomy is a wise and elderly cat who is the leader of the Jellicle clan. The character has three songs in the west end production and was also originally played by Brian Blessed.
Who is Judi Dench? Dame Judi Dench has been acting for over 70 years, first making her name in Shakespeare plays in the 1950s and 60s. She will be most recognisable to modern audiences for her role as M in several recent James Bond films, and won an Oscar for playing Elizabeth I in Shakespeare in Love.
Jason Derulo is Rum Tum Tugger
Who is Rum Tum Tugger? The amazingly-named Rum Tum Tugger is a rebellious Jellicle cat, a bit of a ladies tom, and the younger brother of Munkustrap. Andrew Lloyd-Webber based the cat on Mick Jagger, and thus he is often portrayed as a rock star who loves the limelight and flirts with all the girls. He has several solos, including The Rum Tum Tugger and Magical Mr Mistoffelees.
Who is Jason Derulo? Famous for singing his own name at the start of every song, Jason Derulo is primarily a singer whose hits include Wiggle, Talk Dirty, In My Head and Watcha Say and has sold over 190 million records worldwide. Cats will be his feature film debut, having previously only guest-starred in Empire and TV reboot Lethal Weapon.
Idris Elba is Macavity
Who is Macavity? Master criminal Macavity is the villain of the story, who kidnaps Old Deuteronomy and attempts to kidnap Demeter. Inspired by Sherlock Holmes baddie Moriarty, Macavity possesses mystical hypnosis powers and can apparently teleport away from the scene of any of his crimes.
Who is Idris Elba? Idris Elba is best known for his roles in acclaimed tv series The Wire and Luther, as well as biopic Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom. He’s also earned his music chops as a DJ under the moniker DJ Big Driis, and has performed as a rapper and R&B musician on tracks such as Boasty. Oddly enough this isn’t Elba’s first time playing a villainous feline, having voiced Shere Khan in 2016’s The Jungle Book.
Jennifer Hudson is Grizabella
Who is Jennifer Hudson? Going by her trailer performance, Jennifer Hudson is seriously gunning for another Oscar, having earned one previously for her turn in Dreamgirls. Not bad for a previous winner of American Idol, as rather than fade into obscurity she has instead released three successful albums, won several Grammy awards and kept up an acting and theatre career. She will be best known to UK viewers for her role as a former judge on The Voice UK.
Ian McKellen is Gus the Theatre Cat
Who is Gus the Theatre Cat? An old yet revered cat, Gus earned the nickname of Theatre Cat due to his career as an actor. Now past his mouse hunting days, Gus suffers from palsy which causes his hands to shake and performs a duet with Jellyorum looking back at his acting heydey.
Who is Ian McKellen? National Treasure Sir Ian McKellen is best known for playing Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies, and Magneto in several X-Men films. He has however had an award-winning career spanning over 50 years, appearing in numerous Shakespeare plays on both stage and screen and being nominated for an Oscar for Gods and Monsters.
Taylor Swift is Bombalurina
Who is Bombalurina? Bombalurina is a mischievous, confident cat, who together with her best friend Demeter has an intense hatred of villain Macavity. She’s a very flirtatious feline who sets her sights on Rum Tum Tugger, and initially looks down on Grizabella before ultimately accepting her.
Who is Taylor Swift? You’ve surely heard of this one. The recently crowned “Artist of the Decade” had humble beginnings singing country, before bursting onto the pop scene with Love Story. She has since sold 50 million albums, 150 million singles and won 10 Grammy awards. She has acted previously in ensemble film Valentine’s Day, Meryl Streep movie The Giver and lent her voice to animation The Lorax.
Rebel Wilson is Jennyanydots
Who is Jennyanydots? Jennyanydots is a seemingly lazy cat who spends the day sitting around and napping (goals), but runs the household at night while the family are asleep by ruling the mice and cockroaches. She teaches the household pets music, crocheting and tatting, and during her title song The Old Gumbie Cat leads them in a tap dance. She enjoys having things in order, and is initially very protective of the kittens from Grizabella before ultimately accepting her.
Who is Rebel Wilson? Australian star Rebel Wilson is best known for her comedic roles in films such as Bridesmaids and the Pitch Perfect trilogy. She has also appeared in satire Isn’t It Romantic, rom-com How to be Single and can soon be seen in Jojo Rabbit.
Francesca Hayward is Victoria
Who is Victoria? One of the few character names not seemingly plucked from an Edwardian fairytale name generator, Victoria is a shy, naive white kitten who finds herself part of the Jellicle tribe after roaming the streets. Though a dance role with no solo singing parts in the stage show, the movie will see her perform new song Beautiful Ghosts which was co-written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Taylor Swift. The song will convey how abandoned Victoria is, and how she wishes for memories like Grizabella.
Who is Francesca Hayward? Francesca Hayward may be a newcomer to film, but is far from a novice performer. Hayward is a gifted ballet dancer, having been in the Royal Ballet for nine years and has since gained the position of Principal. She has previously starred in ballet films The Sun is God and Romeo and Juliet: Beyond Words.
Cats is released in UK and US cinemas on Friday 20th December 2019