Moviegoers are not the only ones with “Cats” critiques: Andrew Lloyd Webber, who composed the original 1981musical, is clawing the film adaptation and its director, Tom Hooper.
Webber took jabs at the 2019 movie in an interview with The Sunday Times.
“The problem with the film was that Tom Hooper decided that he didn’t want anybody involved in it who was involved in the original show,” Lloyd Webber, said in the interview published Sunday. “The whole thing was ridiculous.”
This isn’t the first time the famed composer criticized the film adaptation of his successful musical. During a live commentary in May of the filmed 1998 version of “Cats,” he praised its portrayal of Bustopher Jones while cautioning viewers about being “beguiled by other versions.”
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He said he “begged” for “other versions with unfunny interpolations … to be cut out” of the movie. “I did manage to get the worst of them removed. I cannot tell you how absolutely un-Eliot it all was in this song,” he said, seemingly referring to James Corden’s portrayal of the character in Hooper’s adaptation.
Lloyd Webber, who is also known for his work in “The Phantom of the Opera,” also told the Sunday Times that Steven Spielberg had originally acquired the rights to the 2019 film before handing it off to Hooper. While Lloyd Webber’s contributions to the film were minimal, he did co-write one of the songs, “Beautiful Ghosts,” with “Cats” star Taylor Swift.
Despite its A-list cast, which includes Swift along with Idris Elba, Jennifer Hudson, James Corden and Jason Derulo, critics continued to disapprove of the “cat-tastrophic” film, as described by The Hollywood Reporter.
While USA TODAY’s Brian Truitt called the movie musical version of the Broadway hit an “utterly absurd yet oddly charming movie,” other critics, such as Variety’s Peter Debruge were not as entertained.
“Sadly, this uneven eyesore turns out to be every bit the Jellicle catastrophe the haters anticipated, a half-digested hairball of a movie in which Hooper spends too much energy worrying about whether the technology is ready to accommodate his vision and not enough focusing on what millions love about the musical in the first place,” Debruge wrote.
Contributing: Cydney Henderson