Judi Dench prepared to sharpen her claws for Cats
Deadline is reporting that Academy-award winning actress Judi Dench has joined the cast of Tom Hooper’s Universal-Working Title adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical Cats. She will portray the Jellicle’s leader Old Deuteronomy, a role traditionally played by a man.
Dench was originally set to play Grizabella in the original West End production in 1981, but a snapped Achilles’ tendon forced her to back down. Coincidence? Perhaps.
Dench was recently seen in Victoria & Abdul, as well as The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel films and Kenneth Branagh’s Murder on the Orient Express. She has received seven Oscar nominations, winning one for Shakespeare in Love.
Jennifer Hudson is headlining the cast of Cats as Grizabella, the former Glamour Cat, with Idris Elba playing the villainous Macavity. Ian McKellen will play the patriarch, Old Deuteronomy, while Taylor Swift, James Corden, Laurie Davidson, and Mette Towley will also have roles in the film. Academy Award winner Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech, Les Misérables) is set to direct the film from a script by Lee Hall (Billy Elliot).
First performed in 1981, Cats is the fourth longest-running show in Broadway as well as West End history. There was a direct-to-video version of the production released in 1998. It is based on T. S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats. The show itself is set in a larger-than-life junkyard playground and is alive with our favorite feline characters including Rum Tum Tugger, Mr. Mistoffelees, Macavity, Jennyanydots, Old Deuteronomy, Grizabella, and Skimbleshanks.
Cats is expected to begin filming later this year. What do you think Judi Dench playing Deuteronomy in the film? Sing us a song in the comment section below!
(Photo Credit: Getty Images)