Two years after its original release, we’re still trying to wrap our heads around exactly what was going on in the big-screen adaptation of Cats, and apparently so is the writer of the original musical, Andrew Lloyd Webber.
Lloyd Webber has previously made no secret of his disdain for the film version of his breakout musical, which hit cinemas in 2019 to near-unanimously scathing reviews.
Sharing his thoughts in a new interview with Variety, the musical theatre giant said he thought the film was “off-the-scale all wrong”.
“There wasn’t really any understanding of why the music ticked at all. I saw it and I just thought, ‘Oh, God, no’,” he explained.
Digging in even deeper, Lloyd Webber continued: “It was the first time in my 70-odd years on this planet that I went out and bought a dog. So the one good thing to come out of it is my little Havanese puppy.”
Variety noted that Lloyd Webber has “figured out a way to bring the dog to New York”, with the songwriter claiming: “I wrote off and said I needed him with me at all times because I’m emotionally damaged and I must have this therapy dog.
“The airline wrote back and said, ‘Can you prove that you really need him?’ And I said ‘Yes, just see what Hollywood did to my musical “Cats.”’ Then the approval came back with a note saying, ‘No doctor’s report required.’”
Despite an all-star cast including Jennifer Hudson, Dame Judi Dench, Sir Ian McKellen, Idris Elba and Taylor Swift, Cats received a mauling from critics upon its release in 2019.
However, it’s probably worth pointing out that long before the film was ever made, the stage production of Cats has long been divisive among fans of musical theatre, with the show’s loose plot and songs being among the reasons it’s faced criticism in the past.