From Judi Dench to Taylor Swift, Here’s Every A-Lister Tom Hooper Has Herded Like Cats Into Doing ‘Cats’

IndieWire | 10/19/2018 | Staff
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It seems every day, some bigger and more exciting talent joins “Cats,” Tom Hooper’s forthcoming screen adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s record-breaking musical. Based on T.S. Eliot’s “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats,” the musical is the fourth longest-running show in Broadway history, and the sixth longest-running West End show. Hooper directed the “The King’s Speech,” which won best Picture at the 84th Academy Awards, as well as 2012’s “Les Misérables” adaptation. With help from “Billy Elliot” screenwriter Lee Hall, Hooper will attempt to bring “Cats” to the screen.

Here is a breakdown of the A-list talent already signed onto the project, and a look at their musical theater backgrounds and singing chops.

Hudson - Heights - Jennifer - Holliday - Effie

Although Hudson’s “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” didn’t quite reach the hair-raising heights of Jennifer Holliday’s, the original Effie White in “Dreamgirls,” nobody ever could, and she was still pretty darn good. The only former “American Idol” finalist to win an Oscar, Hudson certainly has the acting and singing chops to take on the musical’s iconic song, “Memory.” The previously glamorous cat who has fallen on hard times was immortalized by Elaine Paige in the 1981 West End debut, and re-interpreted by Betty Buckley for Broadway. Barbra Streisand also recorded a chart-topping version of the power ballad, giving Hudson another set of big shoes to fill.

With this new project, Idris Elba seems dead set on proving how far he has come from playing Stringer Bell, the chilling right-hand-man-turned-kingpin in HBO’s “The Wire.” Macavity may be the musical’s undisputed villain, but he still wears a leotard and eye make-up, although it remains to be seen how loyal Hooper will stay to John Napier’s Tony Award-winning costume design. In between “The Wire” becoming a cult classic and those James Bond rumors that just won’t quit, Elba had a...
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