Taylor Swift Reveals Her Feline Pets Were Used as Inspiration for Rebel Wilson's Role in Cats
While on the red carpet at the premiere of Cats in New York City on Monday, Swift, 30, spoke to PeopleTV’s Lola Ogunnaike and Entertainment Weekly‘s JD Heyman about her acting process, telling the hosts that while she didn’t look to Meredith Grey, Olivia Benson, and Benjamin Button for her role in the upcoming film adaptation of the famous musical, her feline friends may have helped Rebel Wilson prepare for her part as the seemingly lethargic Jennyanydots.
“I knew early on they’re not the kind of cats I was gonna be channeling because the kind of cat I’m channeling is very athletic and sort of wild, and my cats are beautifully round,” Swift shared.
“They’re fuzzy. They look like little lazy bears. They’re always taking naps,” she continued. “They’re not the kind of cat that I’m playing. I think my cats would’ve been a perfect cat for Jennyanydots.”
According to the 10-time Grammy winner, her “teacher at cat school” even sent Wilson, 39, pictures and videos of her cats — particularly her Scottish Fold, Olivia — to serve as inspiration.
“They were inspirations, but not for my cat,” she said of her pets.
In the movie, Taylor plays Bombalurina, a flirtatious and self-assured cat with a distinctive red coat. The part was first made famous by Geraldine Gardner in 1981 during Cats‘ West End production, before Donna King and Marlene Danielle took on the role for the musical’s Broadway run.
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Aside from “learning to move like cats” from an instructor, Swift told PeopleTV and EW that she trained with a dialect coach to perfect her accent, as well as worked with a choreographer for the movie’s big dance scenes.
“When it came time to shooting, it was non-stop. It was live singing and dancing — doing the whole number all at once,” she said, explaining sometimes the cast would sing and dance for “12 hours straight.”
“But I had just gotten off tour so I felt like I was prepared for it,” she shared.
When asked about her own character during the premiere, Wilson told PeopleTV and EW she had a blast portraying Jennyanydots.
“I love my character. She’s really fun,” the actress said. “I think myself and James Corden, we bring the comedy to the film. The original material was T.S. Eliot poetry, so it was quite challenging to get some modern humor into the movie.”
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Speaking about her personal training for the film, Wilson said “people really got into the cat school” and learned how to act like a cat.
“All of the movement is real,” she shared. “We really learned how to move and act in this kind of cat-human hybrid fashion.”
Cats opens in theaters this Friday.