Cats. It’s a musical. A ridiculously popular musical, one that kind of rewrote the rule-book for the modern West End musical. It’s also kind of an inexplicable mess you either love or hate, and people have been trying to make a movie out of it for years. Once it was announced that Oscar winner Tom Hooper would direct the big-screen adaptation, people started to wonder what it would look like. That became an even more urgent question when the wildly varied and eclectic cast was announced: Ian McKellen, Taylor Swift, Idris Elba, Jason Derulo, James Corden, Judi Dench, Jennifer Hudson, Rebel Wilson, and some of the most prestigious ballet dancers of the past decade! So, would they all be in leotards scouring through big piles of trash? Would it be CGI? Or would they go full Brecht?
Well, at Cinemacon, Universal Pictures gave attendees a sneak peak. And… Brace yourselves.
THE CATS IN TOM HOOPER’S CATS ARE THE SIZE OF ACTUAL CATS— Scott Wampler™ @ CinemaCon (@ScottWamplerBMD) April 3, 2019
Behind the scenes footage of CATS reveals all the sets are gigantic, filled with oversized furniture and doorways and whatnot. This sounds like I’m doing a bit but I swear to you I am not— Scott Wampler™ @ CinemaCon (@ScottWamplerBMD) April 3, 2019
The characters in the Cats movie will be done via mo-cap not makeup 🙀 I’m going to rename it Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Avatar— Jim Vejvoda (@JimVejvoda) April 3, 2019
I promised Cats and we got Cats! A behind the scenes reel as there’s no finished footage.— Germain Lussier (@GermainLussier) April 3, 2019
We did learn it’s largely performance capture for the faces and fur and that the sets were build 3 to 4x bigger to provide a cat’s eye view. #CinemaCon
This… I’ve no idea what’s going on.
Neither does Twitter. It reacted accordingly.
Cats (2019)— Courtney Enlow (@courtenlow) April 3, 2019
Dir. Tom Hooper pic.twitter.com/suwIURkRdT
CATS (2019) dir. tom hooper pic.twitter.com/L9dGS3EteP— karen han (@karenyhan) April 3, 2019
i saw the greatest minds of my generation consumed by behind-the-scenes footage of CATS— sonia_saraiya (@soniasaraiya) April 3, 2019
when the CATS news hits pic.twitter.com/efCgJ8J7Vg— David Sims (@davidlsims) April 3, 2019
America watching Tom Hooper’s CATS pic.twitter.com/dwvLXZc7un— david ehrlich (@davidehrlich) April 3, 2019
So Cats will feature motion-capture of some kind, particularly for faces and the fur, but perhaps not all of it? So it may be a bunch of actors in tights? Will they be on all fours like real cats or humanoid cats who do lots of jazz inspired modern dance? How realistic is this thing supposed to look, and will it give us uncanny valley nightmares? Will I have to write an article at the end of the year on how it’s okay to thirst after mo-capped feline Idris Elba? If this is a hit, will we get a mo-capped live-action adaptation of Starlight Express, where everyone is a toy train on rollerskates? Answers, I must have them!
I feel like Cats will either be a disaster of epic proportions or a gigantic hit that we will never escape. There is no in-between. Prepare for either occurrence.
Header Image Source: Getty Images.