Andrew Lloyd Webber speaks out on Tom Hooper’s Cats movie
Since the theatrical release of Tom Hooper’s Cats in December, the film adaptation has garnered harsh reviews from critics and audiences, mainly attributed to its weird CGI effects. Because of this, it instantly became a popular subject of memes and jokes. Now, in a recent interview with The Sunday Times (via Deadline), Oscar and Tony-winning composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, who is the original composer of the Cats stage musical, has finally broken his silence about the 2019 film, revealing that the fantasy failed because of Hooper’s decision to not involve the creators of the original musical.
“The problem with the film was that Tom Hooper decided that he didn’t want anybody involved in it who was involved in the original show,” Webber said. “The whole thing was ridiculous.”
Webber’s only contribution to Hooper’s adaptation was its soundtrack, including a new song titled “Beautiful Ghosts” which he co-wrote with fellow Grammy winner Taylor Swift. Despite the criticisms, the song earned the film a Golden Globe nomination for Best Original Song.
The film starred 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 was 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 was 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.