There was a lot to look at in the first Cats trailer, including the cast who have now been transformed into lifelike cats thanks to the movie's use of "digital fur technology." The new technology was mentioned in a sneak peek video ahead of the trailer's release during San Diego Comic-Con 2019. While the technology is a bit jarring, you can still see all of the Cats cast's faces, and it's clear this cast is a stacked one.
Director Tom Hooper has managed to bring in a very talented cast for the latest adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical Cats. Among the cast is Judi Dench, Taylor Swift, Jennifer Hudson, Idris Elba, and Rebel Wilson. Each actor is picking up a long-treasured role and putting their own spin on it for the big screen. Many will be required to sing and all with be required to act like cats and be noticeable through their digital fur makeovers. Yes, Cats was a weird musical choice to adapt for the big screen, but it looks like this cast was more than game to make it happen. So, in addition to the aforementioned actors, who else is part of this unique cast?
In case you need some help figuring out who is hiding underneath all of that (digital) fur, here's a complete Cats movie musical cast guide to help get it all sorted out.
Francesca Hayward As Victoria
Francesca Hayward makes her feature film debut as Victoria the White Cat. Victoria is the audience's window into the world of the Jellicles and viewers follow her throughout the night as she meets all of them at the Jellicle Ball. In addition to Cats, Hayward is best known for her role as a principal dancer in the Royal Ballet. She has been a member of the Royal Ballet since 2010 and has danced in performances of The Nutcracker, Romeo & Juliet, and Giselle. The role of Victoria in past productions of Cats has been played by Phyllida Crowley Smith (pictured above), also an English ballerina.
Judi Dench As Old Deuteronomy
Dench will play a gender-flipped version of Old Deuteronomy, the leader of the Jellicle Tribe in charge of choosing which cat will ascend to the Heaviside Layer to be reborn. Dench is a veteran of the stage and screen whose career spans more than 60 years. Recent roles for Dench include Murder on the Orient Express, Victoria & Abdul, and Tulip Fever. Previous actors to take on the role of Old Deuteronomy notably include Ken Page, another stage and screen veteran who may be familiar to some for voicing the character of Oogie Boogie in A Nightmare Before Christmas.
Jennifer Hudson As Grizabella
Jennifer Hudson will play Grizabella, a former "glamour cat" who is now exiled from the Jellicle tribe. Hudson is heard in the trailer singing the solo "Memory," the most famous number from the musical, which is also Grizabella's big song. Hudson's used to belting it out in movies having won an Oscar for her performance as Effie in the movie adaptation of Dreamgirls. Hudson has gone on to appear in films including Sing, Chi-Raq, and Sex and the City. The role of Grizabella has been a sought-after part in the past, with actresses like Nicole Scherzinger and Elaine Page (pictured above) taking on the role.
Taylor Swift As Bombalurina
Swift steps into the role of Bombalurina, a confident, outgoing cat who has a history with Macavity. This will be Swift's first movie musical appearance, which she can add to her previous film credits Valentine's Day, The Lorax, New Girl, and The Giver. Bombalurina was previously played by Rosemarie Ford, an English theatre actor whose recent credits include hosting the UK dancing competition show Come Dancing in the late '90s in addition to her theater work.
Idris Elba As Macavity
Idris Elba takes on the role of Macavity, a thieving cat who skulks around the edges of the Jellicle Ball proceedings and whose reputation definitely proceeds him. Elba's credits include a hefty background in music as a singer, rapper, and DJ in addition to a lengthy acting career. Previous to Cats, Elba was seen in Netflix's Turn Up Charlie, the BBC's Luther, and Thor: Ragnarok. Macavity has been played in the past by British actor, dancer, and choreographer Bryn Walters (see above), among other theater talents.
Jason Derulo As Rum Tum Tugger
Jason Derulo will play the rakish Rum Tum Tugger, the younger brother of Munkustrap who has a playful nature. Derulo is best known for his musical career. Cats marks an interesting intersection in Derulo's music and acting pursuits, with his only previous acting credit being a guest spot on Fox's Empire in 2015. Past incarnations of Rum Tum Tugger were played by actors like John Patridge (pictured above), known for his work on UK soap EastEnders, and Broadway vet Terrence Mann.
Laurie Davidson As Mister Mistoffelees
Laurie Davidson will play Mister Mistoffelees, a cat literally capable of magic who plays a crucial role in helping the cat chosen by Old Deuteronomy to ascend actually get to the Heaviside Layer. Davidson's most well-known role to date previous to Cats is starring in the ill-fated TNT series Will, all about the life and times of a young William Shakespeare. Mister Mistoffelees was previously played by theater actors including Jacob Brent (pictured above), Timothy Scott, and Wayne Sleep.
James Corden As Bustopher Jones
James Corden will literally be playing a fat cat known as Bustopher Jones, a cat who dresses in a top hat and spats and spends his days schmoozing with cats from high society. Corden, whose roots are in the theater, currently serves as the host of The Late, Late Show with James Corden. Corden takes over the role of Bustopher from a long line of illustrious theater actors including Brian Blessed, Paul F. Monaghan, and James Barron (pictured above).
Rebel Wilson As Jennyanydots
Rebel Wilson plays Jennyanydots, a sweet cat who lazes about most of the day but uses her sweet temperament to rule over the mice and cockroaches by night. Wilson is coming off a recent hot streak of film roles: Pitch Perfect 3, Isn't It Romantic?, and The Hustle. Previous actors who've portrayed Jennyanydots onstage and in film include theater actors Suzie McKenna (seen above), Anna McNeeley, and Myra Sands.
Ian McKellen As Gus the Theatre Cat
A theater vet of the highest order, actor Ian McKellen is playing the role best suited to his history as an actor: Gus the Theater Cat. Gus (short for "Asparagus") is a retired actor who recounts many of his best performances the other Jellicles. McKellen has recently appeared in films including Beauty and the Beast and All is True in addition to playing King Lear at the National Theatre. Previously, Gus was notably played by Academy Award-winning actor John Mills (pictured above), whose credits include the 1982 film Gandhi.
Robbie Fairchild As Munkustrap
Robbie Fairchild will play Munkustrap, the second-in-command of the Jellicles (after Old Deuteronomy) and the narrator of Cats. Fairchild is a principal dancer in the New York City Ballet, recently appearing in An American in Paris: The Musical and making his feature film debut in Cats. In the past, Munkustrap has been played by theater actors like Michael Gruber (pictured above) and Harry Groener.
- Cats (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019