Cats movie: Trailer reveals Taylor Swift as Bombalurina and first look at 'digital fur'

The first trailer for the film adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber's iconic musical adaptation of T.S. Eliot's poems is here. Are you ready for it?

Katie Collins Senior European Correspondent
Katie a UK-based news reporter and features writer. Officially, she is CNET's European correspondent, covering tech policy and Big Tech in the EU and UK. Unofficially, she serves as CNET's Taylor Swift correspondent. You can also find her writing about tech for good, ethics and human rights, the climate crisis, robots, travel and digital culture. She was once described a "living synth" by London's Evening Standard for having a microchip injected into her hand.
Katie Collins
3 min read

Taylor "Bombalurina" Swift. 


Cats the movie is coming this December, but we got our very first look at the film on Thursday when the first trailer dropped. We get to see Taylor Swift, James Corden, Judi Dench, Idris Elba, Jason Derulo, Rebel Wilson, Ian McKellen and Jennifer Hudson transformed into felines, complete with "digital fur."

The technique used to add digital fur to the cast's bodies (and faces) has apparently never before used done. The trailer provides few lingering shots to get a full picture of how the fur moves, but it fits the actors like Lycra, right up to the eyes. The performers are all very recognizably themselves, and yet a whole different species at the same time.

The slated release date for Cats the movie is Dec. 20. Bringing together a cast of household names with hip-hop, tap and Royal Ballet dancers, the movie will bring Andrew Lloyd Webber's world-famous musical, based on poems by T.S. Eliot, to the big screen for the very first time.

Watch this: Trailer for Cats movie featuring Taylor Swift arrives

The first trailer for the film was supposed to arrive on Friday, but instead landed on Thursday, showing the cast in slick, body-fitting feline form, prancing and prowling to the ever-recognizable song Memory. Ahead of the official trailer, Universal released a behind-the-scenes featurette on Wednesday showing the stars of the movie exploring the set and talking about their love of all things theatrical.

For cast member Dench, the film marks an important moment in her illustrious career. Dench was cast in the original stage cast of the musical in 1981, but snapped her achilles tendon and couldn't take up the role. Now, she finally has her chance. "I thought that was my history with Cats," she said. "But it turns out not to be."

Who is Taylor Swift playing?

Pop star Swift will play the role of Bombalurina, a flirtatious cat, and according to IMDB she will perform in at least five of the musical's iconic songs. It seems the ideal role for the star, who is famously a dedicated cat mother to her own three balls of fluff: Dr Meredith Grey, Detective Olivia Benson and Benjamin Button.

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"My first memories of performance go back to when I was in Pennsylvania growing up," Swift says in the behind-the-scenes video. "My favorite thing was getting to be theatrical, to tell a story and I've always brought that narrative element to my live shows."

Swift came straight off her award-winning Reputation stadium tour into rehearsals for Cats. Before the movie started shooting, she attended "cat school" with her fellow cast members, where they learned how to mimic the physical and behavioral traits of felines.

In the trailer, Swift basks in a giant moon, sprinkling catnip on her fellow Jellicles. It's just a small glimpse of what we can expect to see from the star, who was shown in rehearsals dancing with Idris Elba. "This musical is timeless," Swift said. "We got to update it in ways that I think are just so, so, so great."

As students of cat behavior go, you don't get more dedicated than Swift, and I can't wait to see her performance in full. According to Collider, the pop star may also have written an original song for the movie. A spokesperson for Swift didn't return a request for comment, but if the rumors are true, I can't wait to hear it.