Remember Cats? You know, the film that may or may not have opened the doors for the apocalypse? The CGI horror-fest without buttholes but with James Corden gnawing on a giant chicken bone? The big-screen adaptation of the long-running musical was never going to be a mere trainwreck but even us cynics were bowled over by how baffling the entire experience was. It would be the midnight madness movie of the year had the plague not interrupted things. Just think of all the rowdy screenings we were denied, all those chances to fling catnip at the screen and cheer on Skimbleshanks, the one good character in the story.
The fallout from Cats was glorious for most of us, mostly because we had nothing to lose. For the show’s composer, Andrew Lloyd Webber, it was a little more emotional. After completing his contractually mandated thumbs-up endorsement of Tom Hooper’s orgy, he’s ready to tell anyone who will listen that the film was bad and he always knew it would be. In an extensive interview with Variety, he said:
‘Cats was off-the-scale all wrong. 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. So the one good thing to come out of it is my little Havanese puppy.’
Yes, that’s right. Lord Andy, the man who liked cats so much that he turned a book of poems about them into one of the longest-running musicals of all time, is now a dog lover. What an act of betrayal. We hope the magical Mister Mistoffelees sends you into a sparkly pit of doom for your crimes!
Also, remember that scene in the movie where we hear the barking of a dog but don’t see it? Show us the weird human-canine hybrid, you cowards! What wildly overqualified actor would play that role? Was Cumberbatch not returning his calls? Let’s be honest though, it would probably be Redmayne.
So yes, Tory boy Andy has a dog now. He’s even managed to get him into New York by claiming he’s a therapy dog:
‘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 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.”
Hmm, not how the therapy animal system is supposed to work. Not sure we approve, even if ‘trauma via butthole cut’ seems mostly legit to us.
The Variety interview is pretty interesting. Lloyd Webber talks about the now-not-happening Sunset Boulevard musical movie with Glenn Close — bullet dodged, to be honest — and his struggles to keep the theatrical industry alive during lockdown. He is right in noting that it was unfair that sports events played to packed arenas while theaters were forced to stay closed. But also he’s Andrew Lloyd Webber, a noted Conservative Party supporter who once flew transatlantic as a member of the House of Lords to vote in favor of cutting benefits to the poorest people in the U.K. It’s hard to sell yourself as a hero of the arts when you keep supporting the party that has notoriously done all that it can to sh*t over our nation’s cultural industries. Pick a side, Andy. And put your money where your mouth is.
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