Andrew Lloyd Webber Slams Movie Adaptation of His Musical Cats: 'Whole Thing Was Ridiculous'
The Tony winner co-wrote a brand-new song with Taylor Swift for the movie version, which debuted in December
In a new interview with the U.K.'s Sunday Times, the prolific musical theater composer, 72, slammed the movie, which hit theaters in December, as "ridiculous." Cats — which starred Idris Elba, Judi Dench, Taylor Swift, Rebel Wilson, Jennifer Hudson and James Corden — was directed by Oscar winner Tom Hooper, who co-wrote the screenplay with Lee Hall.
"The problem with the film," said Webber, "was that Tom Hooper decided that he didn’t want anybody involved in it who was involved in the original show. The whole thing was ridiculous."
Webber is listed as an executive producer on the film, and the Tony winner teamed up with Swift, 30, to pen a brand-new new song for the movie, titled "Beautiful Ghost." The emotional tune was performed by Francesca Hayward’s character Victoria.
Webber explained in a behind-the-scenes featurette that he felt the original song needed to be included in the remake after his first read-through of the script.
“When I first read the screenplay — and the film is seen through Victoria’s eyes — the first thing I said was: ‘We have to have a song for Victoria. It’s an incredibly important central part of the whole film,’” he said.
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Hooper, 47, won an Academy Award in 2010 for directing The King's Speech, which also won Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay and Best Actor. In November, ahead of Cats' debut, the filmmaker told Empire magazine that the online criticism of the movie’s initial trailer and its visual effects was “entertaining.”
“I was just so fascinated because I didn’t think it was controversial at all,” said Hooper at the time. “So it was quite entertaining. Cats was apparently the number-one trending topic in the world, for a good few hours at least.”
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The director also pointed out that the movie had “only finished shooting in March,” when the first trailer was released in July and many of the visual effects have since been updated.
“All the visual effects were at quite an early stage,” he explained. “Possibly there were, in the extremity in some of the responses, some clues in how to keep evolving [the production]. When you watch the finished film, you’ll see that some of the designs of the cats have moved on since then, and certainly, our understanding of how to use the technology to make them work has gone up too.”