In our attempt to be part of the internet zeitgeist, we’re trying one of those ‘where are they now’ articles, all about 2019’s Cats movie.
As part of our drive to be an essential part of online discourse, and to navigate the choppy waters of running a movie website, we’ve had consultants back in to tell us just where we’re going wrong.
Regular readers will know that we’ve tried their advice before. We tried a ranking article, we tried ‘ending explains’, we tried a trailer breakdown. But much to our frustration, in spite of handing over untold riches, the hits didn’t come in the numbers that the consultants assured us. ‘Pivot to video’, they suggested, backing it up with some bullshit Facebook punted out a few years ago.
But we stood our ground.
Exasperated, they told us they had one last foolproof plan. Readers: we folded. “Where are they now stuff, it’s magic”, they insisted. The instructions they gave us were simple: find a popular movie of the last decade, and look at what happened to everybody after it hit big. Point out that people get older as the years go by too, and posit that as some kind of shock revelation. You know, this sort of thing…
Then sit back, load Google Analytics, and look smug. “The trick”, they added, “as picking the right film. Something in the zeitgeist. Something people love”.
There could be only one choice.
Here then is what’s happened then to just some of the furry faces involved in the hugely popular 2019 film adaptation of the hit musical Cats. I’ve written 2524 words about it before, and I’ve a softer spot for it than many. But in the spirit of mopping up that clickbait, here’s what ten of its participants have been up to since. Once we put this article live, we’re taking the weekend off to watch the numbers come in. Ker-ching!
Dame Judi Dench
I can’t help but think of Conservative MP Nick Fletcher when I think of what they did the role of Old Deuteronomy in the Cats film. As the army of Cats bros knows, the part was originated by Brian Blessed on the stage. Fletcher, who you might remember from this story, must have been fucking raging about it, given that the gender-flipping of Old Deuteronomy cost men a valuable role model.
Still, Dame Judi Dench did her best, valiantly, with trying to fill Blessed’s facial hair whilst people dressed in furry suits sang at her. It was useful experience though, and to her credit she’s taken it into acting roles in productions such as Belfast, Six Minutes To Midnight and Off The Rails. None of those films have required her to purr, or look bemused.
Following his turn as (checks notes) Growltiger in Cats, Ray Winstone turned to gambling. He’s gone on to secure his work as the voice of bargain bets inbetween those football matches on Sky Sports. The tones he gifted to his feline iteration are now being used to lure us at odds of 6/1 to bet on Harry Kane scoring the next goal. He also wrapped his tongue around Ivan Dreykov, the Russian foe of Marvel’s Black Widow. He has not announced plans to reprise any moggy-related activity.
Following his winning turn as Rum Tum Tugger, both a character in Cats and coincidentally my personal porn star alter ego, Derulo cunningly made a clever point about the digital eradication of genitals from the final cut of the movie. He did so in the time-honoured fashion of posting a picture of himself on Instagram.
Turns out that the shorts he was wearing were too tight, and you could see an outline of his, er, ‘third paw’. “I can’t help my size”, the six foot tall cat protested.
But think about it. Maybe this was, in much the same way the cast of Justice League quietly campaigned for Zack Snyder’s cut of the film, Derulo pushing for the rumoured alternate cut of Cats to be released.
He remains far more famous, popular and successful than this writer will ever be. And he has clearly out thought us all, with his cunning tactics. An extra saucer of milk for Mr Derulo please!
Director Tom Hooper, who won Best Director at the Oscars (although not for Cats), has helmed three different films that have won actors Academy Awards. Again, for clarification, Cats was not one of them.
He’s not made a film since, but has been in the headlines recently when the UK’s culture secretary, Nadine Dorries, blocked his re-appointment to the board of Channel Four. I can only conclude that Dorries was as angry as the aforementioned Nick Fletcher MP over the genderflipping scandal.
Nobody scratched their nether regions with quite the commitment and gusto of Wilson in the film. As Jennyanydots, she was the one actor who was actively sung at by the spectacularly freaky mice, and it’s to her credit that she can still sleep at night. She’s been busy too, and watch out for her next in the British movie The Almond & The Seahorse, that wrapped at the end of last year. No mice are expected in that.
Sir Ian McKellen
Gandalf became Gus The Theatre Cat for Cats, and boasted such an amazing tail that his fellow moggies can’t help but look at it with a mixture of admiration, and, well, sheer lust…
McKellen, during the pandemic, filmed a further film role in the British indie Infinitum: Subject Unknown, and in truth the lockdown we went through has prevented him reaping the deserved benefits of his Gus-ness. Just a matter of time. Reckon he might land a comic book movie if he carries on at this rate.
Arguably the standout of the Cats ensemble – whatever you think of the film, she can’t half belt out a tune and very much does. She was also brilliant in the film Respect, out last year. She’s since been nominated for a Golden Globe for her work on that film, too, but please please please don’t hold that against her. She’s ace.
British actor James Corden’s groundbreaking performance as Bustopher Jones proved quite the springboard for the popular comedian and talk show host.
In fact, it clearly gave him a taste for all things four-legged. He would apply his love of bringing animals to life by reprising the role of Peter Rabbit in the hit sequel (genuinely a good film that, too). He’d also produce 2021’s Cinderella, in which – get this! – he’d voice a mouse! Imagine what Bustopher would have made of that! Maybe one day he’ll consider a crossover movie, or perhaps a James Corden Animated Animal Cinematic Universe. Just imagine!
Whenever we talk about the range of actors, Idris Elba’s name really should be one of the names cited. He played Macavity in the Cats film, described as ‘the mystery cat’.
The mystery is just how many different roles Elba manages to smash out of the park! Even this year, he’s filming a Luther movie and is voicing a videogame hedgehog. That, and he took a role in last year’s The Suicide Squad too.
He’s not quite mastered animals in the same way James Corden has, but in fairness, that’s quite a high bar.
The rumoured plot of that Luther movie, incidentally, is of an actor tracking down his agent to ‘have a word’. Spoilers…
Andrew Lloyd Webber
The composer of the original musical watched the film, and bought a dog.
Cats is available on Netflix now.
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