Arts & Culture

The Cats Trailer Is Here and It Is... Something

Wow, they really just put a bunch of CGI fur on famous actors, didn't they?
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While we're waiting for a peek of the new film adaptation of Cats (who doesn't want to see Judi Dench and Idris Elba in that crazy makeup?), there's still plenty of jellicle-related gossip to catch up on.

Here's everything else we know about the film so far:

THE FIRST TRAILER HAS BEEN RELEASED, AND WE FINALLY KNOW WHAT THE CATS LOOK LIKE.

After it was revealed that the film would, at least in part, rely on computer graphics to make the cats, Cats fans have been dying for a peek at the feline characters. That time has finally come, and the kitties look just as bonkers as everyone had hoped. Watch the trailer in full below for all of your cat-dancing and cat-singing needs.

UNIVERSAL STUDIOS RELEASED A BEHIND-THE-SCENES LOOK AT THE MOVIE—AND IT IS VERY MUCH WORTH WATCHING.

It starts with Taylor Swift, Jason Derulo, and others reflecting on their first experiences with music and performance, and quickly moves into a surreal look at the production. The sets are all extremely oversized, as the cats in Cats will the size of cats; the choreography is extremely feline; and Judi Dench is extremely charming. Enjoy the full three-and-a-half-minute video below.

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TAYLOR SWIFT REVEALED THE CURIOUS WAY SHE STUDIED FOR HER PART.

In a video for Time, Swift spoke about why she loved cats, as well as how she played a cat in the movie Cats. "The most influential factor in my life is cats," she said. "I have cats, I’m obsessed with them. They’re just a real joy to live with. And I love my cats so much that when a role came up in a movie called Cats, I just thought like, I’ve gotta do this. This is my calling in life to do this for the ladies." (Yes, it seems that by "ladies," she is referring to her cats.)

"So I went to cat school, which they have on set, readily available for us," Swift said about her time filming Cats. "Learned how to be as much like a cat as I possibly could." It is unclear exactly what "cat school" is, or which other castmates—or actual felines?—attended. Town & Country will continue to report on this story as it develops.

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THE CATS WILL BE THE SIZE OF... CATS.

At CinemaCon, Universal revealed behind-the-scenes footage of oversized sets, which will make the actors seem feline-sized in comparison. It was also confirmed that they will not be made to look like cats through make-up, in the mode of the original production—the movie is using motion-capture graphics instead. The preview presented promised that they'd utilized "digital fur technology to create the most perfect covering of fur," per Indiewire.

IDRIS ELBA AND REBEL WILSON ARE SINGING TAYLOR SWIFT'S PRAISES.

At a recent screening for Elba's upcoming Netflix series, Turn Up Charlie, the actor shared an appreciation for his Cats costar. "Taylor was great," Elba told Variety. "Her and I had a lot of work to do together, and she was amazing. She worked hard and was just happy to be there."

Another Cats cast member, Rebel Wilson, also seems to be taken with Swift. "She’s incredible," Wilson told Entertainment Tonight. "She’s such a lovely girl and I personally think her cat is the sexiest out of all cats."

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Some of this affection may be related to Swift's on-set generosity. Last month, two more costars shared that the singer had handed out gift bags, which included some of her own merch. (See the haul here.)

TAYLOR SWIFT JUST SHARED A PHOTO FROM THE PRODUCTION.

The singer (and now actress!) posted on Instagram from the Cats set. The image shows Swift in front of a sign that reads "Bombalurina," her character in the movie. And for the caption? A simple "meow."

View this post on Instagram

Meow.

A post shared by Taylor Swift (@taylorswift) on

PRODUCTION HAS OFFICIALLY BEGUN.

Across the pond in Hertfordshire, England, Cats is finally underway. It's likely most satisfying for director Tom Hooper, who's been attached to the project since way back in 2016.

SIGNS POINT TO THE USE OF CGI IN THE CREATION OF THE CATS.

Hollywood's recent push for live-action versions of classic animated films has yielded a deluge of digitally transformed actors. The results are mixed, to say the least—many fans have found that the onscreen creatures' almost-lifelike appearance falls squarely in the uncanny valley.

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This doesn't seem to be of concern to the director of Cats, however. Hooper plans to use "astonishing new technology to transform his cast members," per Universal's recent announcement. We don't yet have details on how heavily the film will lean on CGI; it's possible that it will merely supplement makeup and other low-tech means of transformation.

HAMILTON'S CHOREOGRAPHER IS ONBOARD. 

After the Royal Ballet's Wayne McGregor had to drop out for scheduling reasons, Cats has found its choreographer. Andy Blankenbuehler is most famous for his work on Hamilton, but also choreographed Cats's most recent Broadway revival.

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The cast of Cats perform on stage on July 31, 2016, at the musical’s first-ever Broadway revival.
Photo by NOAM GALAI / GETTY IMAGES.

JASON DERULO HAS BEEN CAST AS RUM TUM TUGGER.

The musician will play the notoriously rowdy cat. No word yet on whether he'll sing (as Rum Tum Tugger does in the original version) or rap (as in the London revival).

REBEL WILSON WILL PLAY JENNYANYDOTS, THE "OLD GUMBIE CAT."

The actress and comedienne has signed on to the project as Jennanydots, the famously lazy cat. She's known to spend her days sleeping, and wake up at night to cook and knit. Jennanydots is also known for her trademark team of cockroach helpers.

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A cast member performs onstage in Cats.
Photo by J. KEMPIN / GETTY IMAGES.

IAN MCKELLEN IS ALREADY LEARNING HIS LINES.

McKellen treated the audience of The Graham Norton Show to a taste of the upcoming film, singing the opening bars of "Gus the Theatre Cat."

He also revealed that he's currently trying to embrace his "inner pussy" for the role. McKellen even considered eating cat food on the weekends to prepare for his role. "I always thought cat food smelled as if it might be rather tasty," he said. "It isn’t."

ROYAL BALLET DANCERS FRANCESCA HAYWARD AND STEVEN MCRAE HAVE SIGNED ON TO THE PROJECT.

Hayward will play the all-white kitten Victoria for her feature film debut. She'll also have the chance to flex her singing skills, as she'll be tackling an all-new song by Andrew Lloyd Weber, written specifically for the adaptation.

McRae has been cast as Skimbleshanks, an older cat known for traveling on trains at night, hence his nickname "The Railway Cat."

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IT'S BEING DIRECTED BY VETERAN FILMMAKER TOM HOOPER.

You might know him from little projects like The King's Speech and The Danish Girl, not to mention his first acclaimed adaption, 2012's Les Misérables. After the success of the latter, Broadway fans trust him to handle another beloved musical.

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Cats cast members during the play’s Paris season at the Theatre de Paris.
Photo by MICHELINE PELLETIER DECAUX / GETTY IMAGES.

JUDI DENCH HAS BEEN CAST AS DEUTERONOMY, A ROLE USUALLY PLAYED BY A MAN.

The revered actress is the most recent addition to the cast. Her gender-flipped role is intriguing, and raises questions about what else director Tom Hooper plans to change in his adaptation.

Deuteronomy is the leader of the Jellicles (the group of cats featured in the musical, based on the characters in T.S. Eliot's book Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats). The feline is wise and well-respected—not unlike Dench herself.

TAYLOR SWIFT IS ALSO ONBOARD.

Swift will play Bombalurina, one of the two kitties that sing "Macavity the Mystery Cat," a notoriously lusty number.

Why was she cast, you might ask? "Well, basically, Tom Hooper thought it was a really good idea, and of course, she loves cats," said Andrew Lloyd Webber, the writer of the original musical. It's true—Taylor Swift loves her a cat.

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IDRIS ELBA WILL PLAY MACAVITY, THE SUBJECT OF SWIFT'S SONG.

In the musical, Macavity is the "master criminal." Given Elba's undeniable handsomeness, it makes perfect sense that he'd play the bad-boy character described in the sultry song.

JAMES CORDEN AND JENNIFER HUDSON ROUND OUT THE CAST.

Comedian James Corden and Oscar-winner Jennifer Hudson have also signed on to the coming film, adding even more star-power to an already stacked cast. Hudson is reportedly playing Grizabella, while Corden will portray Bustopher Jones.

Mette Towley, who is currently best known as a choreographer, has been tapped to play young kitten Jemima. Fellow up-and-comer Laurie Davidson, who debuted in 2017 as the star of TNT's Will, has also joined the project as a yet-to-be-announced character.

IT'S COMING OUT JUST IN TIME FOR CHRISTMAS, 2019.

The release date has been set for December 20, 2019, making the film a prime holiday box office contender. The movie adaptation of Wicked was previously slated for that day, but has since been pushed back. Thankfully, we're getting another Broadway hit in its place.

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*This article originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com

*Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors

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