Andrew Lloyd Webber isn’t mincing words about his feelings toward the movie adaptation of his hit musical Cats. The composer has officially dubbed the 2019 film “ridiculous” and called out its director, Tom Hooper.
“The problem with the film was that Tom Hooper decided, as he had with Les Mis, that he didn’t want anybody involved in it who was involved in the original show,” Webber said in an interview about his upcoming musical Cinderella with the U.K.’s Sunday Times. “The whole thing was ridiculous.”
Webber composed Cats, which debuted in London in 1981 and became a global success. The same can’t be said for Hooper’s much-maligned film adaptation starring Jennifer Hudson, Ian McKellen, Idris Elba, Taylor Swift, Jason Derulo, and other A-list stars.
The famed composer, known for other musicals like The Phantom of the Opera and Evita, also told the Sunday Times that before Hooper came on board, Steven Spielberg had acquired the film rights but never moved forward with the project.
When the film premiered in December, it earned scathing critical reviews, fizzled at the box office, and scored eight Razzie Award nominations, including one for Judi Dench’s performance. A few Cats costars have since distanced themselves from the flop, with Rebel Wilson and James Corden even poking fun of it at the Oscars in February.
Hooper, meanwhile, took the widespread criticism in stride, even defending the film’s weird special effects and the cats’ bizarre physical appearance.
“I didn’t think it was going to be a big deal, and it was obviously much more of a big deal than I thought,” Hooper told EW after the first trailer for Cats dropped. “Reading some of the commentary was pretty entertaining.”
When audiences reacted poorly to Hooper’s feline-human hybrids in the teaser, the director said he was “actually quite grateful.” After the trailer’s release, he used some of the critiques to redesign “every single cat to some extent, whether small or large.” But it seems the changes weren’t enough, and well, the rest is history.
Cats (2019 movie)
Tom Hooper directs a star-studded adaptation of the long-running Andrew Lloyd Webber musical.
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