Cats Producers Scratch Back at Fan Backlash
At this point, online criticisms over the film Cats — notably the bizarre design choices concerning the titular characters — is no longer news. However, after director Tom Hooper stepped up and responded to the negative reaction, it feels fitting that the film’s producers, Eric Fllner and Tim Bevan, would offer their remarks as well. It’s not every day you have a $100 million studio release generating hype for all the wrong reasons.
“What does one say?” Fellner told Variety. “The reality is that 100 million people or more saw the trailer, and, yes, there were some people that didn’t like it, and as is the world we live in, those who didn’t like it were the most vociferous.”
Bevan offered his own critique of the critiques by saying, “They were probably people who didn’t know ‘Cats,’ and the fact is they were either anticipating something animated or something that was on four legs. Among people who know Cats, the reaction was pretty solid.”
Fellner also reiterated Hooper’s remarks that the film’s effects were not completed by the time the trailer released, and promised “The characters have progressed and are progressing every day.”
The film stars Tony- and Emmy-winning actor and host James Corden (One Man, Two Guvnors, The Late Late Show with James Corden), Academy Award-winning actress Judi Dench (Shakespeare in Love), multi-platinum-selling singer-songwriter Jason Derulo, Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning actor Idris Elba (HBO’s The Wire, BBC One’s Luther), Academy Award, Golden Globe and Grammy Award-winning artist Jennifer Hudson (Dreamgirls), Academy Award-nominated actor Ian McKellen (Gods and Monsters), Emmy and ten-time Grammy-winning global music icon Taylor Swift, comedy superstar Rebel Wilson (the Pitch Perfect franchise) and introduces Francesca Hayward, principal dancer with The Royal Ballet.
Adapted for the screen by Hooper and Lee Hall (Billy Elliot), Cats is produced by Hooper and Working Title’s Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner, as well as Debra Hayward (Les Misérables), who brought the idea to Working Title. The film will be produced by Working Title Films in association with Monumental Pictures and The Really Useful Group and executive produced by three-time Oscar winner Steven Spielberg, musical theater legend Lloyd Webber, Angela Morrison (Les Misérables) and Jo Burn (Annihilation).
One of the longest-running shows in West End and Broadway history, the London stage production of Cats received its world premiere at the New London Theatre in 1981—where it played for 21 record-breaking years and almost 9,000 performances. Based on T.S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, the show won the Olivier and Evening Standard Awards for Best Musical. In 1983 the Broadway production became the recipient of seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical, and ran for an extraordinary 18 years.
Under the guidance of three-time Tony-winning choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler (Hamilton: An American Musical, In the Heights, Bandstand), who also choreographed the 2016 stage revival of Cats, the film cast features some of the most exceptional and inspiring professional dancers working today, including hip hop dance sensation Larry and Laurent Bourgeiois (aka Les Twins); former principal dancer for the New York City Ballet and Tony-nominated actor Robbie Fairchild (An American In Paris); former soloist of The Royal Ballet Eric Underwood; Mëtte Towley, a member of Pharrell Williams’ acclaimed dance troupe The Baes; Steven McRae, principal of The Royal Ballet; and thrilling, cutting-edge street, freestyle and contemporary dancers from Brazil, France, Philippines, the U.S. and the United Kingdom.
The film is scheduled to hit the theaters on December 20.