Jennifer Hudson, Taylor Swift, James Corden cast in movie version of ‘Cats’

Jennifer HudsonTaylor SwiftJames Corden and Ian McKellen have been cast in Working Title’s upcoming movie version of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s smash musical “Cats.”

Tom Hooper, the Oscar-winning director of “The King’s Speech,” will direct “Cats,” which is set to begin shooting in Britain in November. The screenplay by Lee Hall (“Billy Elliot”) is based on Lloyd Webber’s musical, which was itself adapted from a book of children’s poems by T.S. Eliot.

Hudson, who won an Oscar in 2007 for her breakout role in “Dreamgirls,” will play Grizabella, the former “glamour cat” who falls on hard times and gets to sing about it in showstopper “Memory.” It’s unclear which roles will be played by Swift, Corden and McKellen.

The Daily Mail was the first to report the casting news, which was confirmed to Variety.

17 PHOTOS
Taylor Swift's Reputation Stadium Tour
See Gallery
Taylor Swift's Reputation Stadium Tour
GLENDALE, AZ - MAY 08: Taylor Swift performs onstage during opening night of her 2018 reputation Stadium Tour at University of Phoenix Stadium on May 8, 2018 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for TAS)
GLENDALE, AZ - MAY 08: Taylor Swift performs onstage during opening night of her 2018 reputation Stadium Tour at University of Phoenix Stadium on May 8, 2018 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for TAS)
GLENDALE, AZ - MAY 08: (L-R) Camila Cabello, Taylor Swift, and Charli XCX pose onstage before opening night of Taylor Swift's 2018 Reputation Stadium Tour at University of Phoenix Stadium on May 8, 2018 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for TAS)
GLENDALE, AZ - MAY 08: Taylor Swift performs onstage during opening night of her 2018 reputation Stadium Tour at University of Phoenix Stadium on May 8, 2018 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for TAS)
GLENDALE, AZ - MAY 08: Charli XCX, Camila Cabello and Taylor Swift perform onstage during opening night of Taylor Swift's 2018 reputation Stadium Tour at University of Phoenix Stadium on May 8, 2018 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for TAS)
GLENDALE, AZ - MAY 08: Taylor Swift performs onstage during opening night of her 2018 reputation Stadium Tour at University of Phoenix Stadium on May 8, 2018 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for TAS)
PASADENA, CA - MAY 19: Taylor Swift performs onstage during the Taylor Swift reputation Stadium Tour at the Rose Bowl on May 19, 2018 in Pasadena, California (Photo by Christopher Polk/TAS18/Getty Images)
PASADENA, CA - MAY 19: Charli XCX, Camila Cabello and Taylor Swift perform onstage during the Taylor Swift reputation Stadium Tour at the Rose Bowl on May 19, 2018 in Pasadena, California (Photo by Christopher Polk/TAS18/Getty Images)
PASADENA, CA - MAY 19: Taylor Swift performs onstage during the Taylor Swift reputation Stadium Tour at the Rose Bowl on May 19, 2018 in Pasadena, California (Photo by Christopher Polk/TAS18/Getty Images)
PASADENA, CA - MAY 19: Selena Gomez and Taylor Swift perform onstage during the Taylor Swift reputation Stadium Tour at the Rose Bowl on May 19, 2018 in Pasadena, California (Photo by Christopher Polk/TAS18/Getty Images)
PASADENA, CA - MAY 19: Taylor Swift and Troye Sivan perform onstage during the Taylor Swift reputation Stadium Tour at the Rose Bowl on May 19, 2018 in Pasadena, California (Photo by Christopher Polk/TAS18/Getty Images)
PASADENA, CA - MAY 18: Taylor Swift performs onstage during the Taylor Swift reputation Stadium Tour at the Rose Bowl on May 18, 2018 in Pasadena, California (Photo by Christopher Polk/TAS18/Getty Images)
PASADENA, CA - MAY 18: Taylor Swift and Shawn Mendes perform onstage during the Taylor Swift reputation Stadium Tour at the Rose Bowl on May 18, 2018 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/TAS18/Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA - MAY 11: Taylor Swift performs onstage during Taylor Swift reputation Stadium Tour at Levi's Stadium on May 11, 2018 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/TAS18/Getty Images)
GLENDALE, AZ - MAY 08: Taylor Swift performs onstage during opening night of her 2018 reputation Stadium Tour at University of Phoenix Stadium on May 8, 2018 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for TAS)
SANTA CLARA, CA - MAY 11: (L-R) Charli XCX, Taylor Swift, and Camila Cabello perform onstage during Taylor Swift reputation Stadium Tour at Levi's Stadium on May 11, 2018 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/TAS18/Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA - MAY 11: Taylor Swift high-fives fans during Taylor Swift reputation Stadium Tour at Levi's Stadium on May 11, 2018 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/TAS18/Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

“Cats” is one of the most successful musicals in history, enjoying long runs both in London’s West End and on Broadway. The possibility of a movie version has long been bandied about.

Working Title’s Eric Fellner and Tim Bevan brought another beloved stage musical, “Les Miserables,” to the big screen in 2012. That film was nominated for best picture at the Academy Awards and won a statuette for Anne Hathaway as best supporting actress.

Eliot’s “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats,” published in 1939, is a collection of poems about creatures known as “Jellicle cats” and their secret world, but lacks an overarching story line. Lloyd Webber’s musical stitches the poems together into a tale of cats seeking some sort of feline redemption in the “Heaviside layer,” somewhere above London, “up, up, up past the Russell Hotel.”

Besides tired and tattered Grizabella, other characters include Old Deuteronomy, Macavity, Skimbleshanks and the Rum Tum Tugger.

Subscribe to Variety Newsletters and Email Alerts!

Read Full Story