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Cats musical film: watch Tom Hooper and Francesca Hayward discuss the stage show on the silver screen

The film will be released later this week

Francesca Hayward

WhatsOnStage sat down with the new Cats film star Francesca Hayward as well as director Tom Hooper to discuss bringing the musical to the big screen.

The role of Victoria has been significantly augmented for the film, acting as a through-line for the whole story. Hayward, making her big-screen debut, also gets to perform a brand new number, "Beautiful Ghosts", penned for her by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Taylor Swift.

Jennifer Hudson, Taylor Swift, Judi Dench, James Corden, Idris Elba, Zizi Strallen, Jason Derulo, Steven McRae and Ian McKellen have all been cast in Working Title's film.

Originally opening in 1981, Cats has music from Andrew Lloyd Webber, with lyrics from TS Eliot's Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats. The story follows a group of cats deciding who will ascend to the Heavyside Layer. Elaine Paige played Grizabella in the original London cast alongside Brian Blessed, Sarah Brightman, Wayne Sleep, Bonnie Langford and Paul Nicholas.

Cats is released in cinemas on 20 December.

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