Cats director Tom Hooper called Hugh Jackman about starring in the movie, which was later widely panned by critics

By Ale Russian
April 16, 2020 11:48 AM
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Dia Dipasupil/WireImage

Hugh Jackman, who’s appeared in many movie musicals, almost starred in one of the worst-reviewed of all-time.

The actor and singer recently revealed in an interview with The Daily Beast that he talked to director Tom Hooper about starring in Cats, the CGI-fur filled take on Andrew Lloyd Webber’s iconic stage musical. But Jackman couldn’t quite make it work.

“You know, Tom rang me early on because we did Les Mis together, and there were a couple of options there based on availability and time, and I really… yeah, I just wasn’t available at the time,” Jackman, 51, explained.

Hooper directed Jackman in the acclaimed 2012 film adaptation of Les Misérables, in which Jackman played the starring role of Jean Valjean alongside a star-studded cast, including Anne Hathaway, who won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her performance.

And while Hooper assembled a long list of A-listers for last winter’s Cats, the movie didn’t meet expectations and was largely criticized and mocked for its bizarre choice to feature the cast as CGI cats.

WATCH: ‘The Music Man’s Sutton Foster Says Costar Hugh Jackman Is ‘the Most Normal, Down-to-Earth Guy’

Ever the good guy, Jackman refused to add to the criticism and instead praised his pal Hooper.

“I’m in the theater, man, and I don’t want to be in the business of bashing people—or jumping on bandwagons. I haven’t seen it, and Tom Hooper’s one of the great filmmakers we have,” he said.

Jackman is next set to appear in The Music Man on Broadway alongside Tony winner Sutton Foster. Theaters are currently shut down until at least June amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The actor told PEOPLE in mid-March that he was looking forward to starring in the musical.

“This was the first [musical] I ever did,” he said. “I was in drama school and I did it. For 10 years people had been saying to me ‘Well which [play] would you like to revive’ … and I think after Greatest Showman I just went, The Music Man.’”