Jennifer Hudson, who stars in Universal and Working Title’s upcoming movie adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s famous musical, performed the iconic song “Memory” during the movie’s presentation before exhibitors.
“Music and musicals deliver a power like no other genre can,” Universal Filmed Entertainment Group chairman Donna Langley told theater owners before bringing Hudson to the stage.
Langley explained that there was no footage to share of the actors as cats because of the complicated visual effects involved.
However, the crowd was treated to a behind-the-scenes video shot on the set in London that featured Hooper, Taylor Swift, James Corden and Judi Dench, among other actors who star in the film. The video showed castmembers wearing performance-capture suits with body and facial tracking markers to create the nuanced movements while they appeared on greenscreen and bluescreen sets.
“We’ve spent a lot of time figuring out how to be a cat,” explained Dench. Added Corden, “This is kind of blowing my mind.”
Universal and Working Title will open the musical on Dec. 20. “I can’t wait for the world to see what we’ve been cooking up for the last three or four years,” said Hooper. “We came up with a 2019 version that is entirely our own.”
Cats tells the story of a tribe of felines called the Jellicles and the night they make what is known as “the Jellicle choice” and decide which cat will ascend to the Heaviside Layer and come back to a new life.
The stage musical is the fourth-longest-running show in Broadway history and was the longest-running Broadway show ever from 1997 until 2006. Lee Hall (Billy Elliot) has adapted Lloyd Webber’s musical, which itself was based on the T.S. Eliot novel Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats.