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Taylor Swift, Jennifer Hudson take center stage in feline-frenzied 'Cats' trailer

Ethan Alter
Senior Writer, Yahoo Entertainment

A feature film version of the Broadway favorite Cats was always going to be catnip for musical theater lovers. But the first trailer for the Tom Hooper-directed movie musical — due in theaters on Dec. 20 — is aiming to dance into the hearts of viewers of all ages and species. Boasting a cast that includes Jennifer Hudson, Idris Elba, Taylor Swift and James Corden, this lavish adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 1981 hit hopes to be the purrr-fect holiday present for families who are still singing The Greatest Showman showtunes. (Watch the trailer above.)

Taylor Swift in Cats. (Photo: Universal Pictures)

Based on the online reaction, though, a Halloween release date might have been more appropriate. Not long after the trailer dropped, the internet quickly did its thing and deemed Cats “scarier than the IT trailer,” posting nightmare-inducing images to drive home their point.

Prior to the trailer’s release, speculation had been rampant about how Hooper would give his human cast a feline makeover. In a recently released featurette, the director teased the “digital fur technology” that would transform Swift, Hudson and Elba into Bombalurina, Grizabella and Macavity, respectively. Rumors had also been swirling that the actors would be digitally rendered as cat-sized, based on reports that emerged out of Cinema Con back in April. None of that prepared Twitter for actually seeing the cast as cats. Apparently, size does matter.

Webber’s score for Cats includes such memorable kitty ditties as “Bustopher Jones,” “Skimbleshanks: The Railway Cat” and “Mr. Mistoffelees.” But the show’s signature number, and the one that’s most prominently featured in the trailer, is “Memory,” which generations of theater lovers have grown up belting in the shower, at karaoke or in an audition room. For obvious reasons that’s the song that Hudson — who won an Oscar for her showstopping performance in Dreamgirls — gets to sing. And even if people are divided about her look, everyone agrees her voice is on point.

Even though Swift doesn’t get to show off her pipes in the trailer, her squad is feeling the cat scratch fever.

But obviously, we all know who the real winners of this Cats-travaganza are:

Cats opens in theaters on Dec. 20.

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