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When the first trailer for the Cats movie dropped in July, people definitely had some thoughts on the so-called “digital fur technology” that turned Sir Ian McKellen, Idris Elba, Dame Judi Dench, and other stars into unusual-looking anthropomorphic felines.

McKellen, perfectly cast as Gus the Theatre Cat in the movie musical, has now shared his thoughts on why the adaptation’s technology remains true to Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber‘s original vision.

“The stage show, Cats, was not about a lot of people being convincing as cats, but it was about human beings discovering their cat-like nature. And it was hugely successful,” he told Entertainment Tonight. “When it was now being done in film, the temptation I think must have been to turn those actors into cats, like Lion King, and make them look like real cats, but they’re not real cats,” he added. “They’re people playing cats, and that is the notion of the film, and it’s been done very wittingly, I think, and particularly the dancers.

“To see a young person discovering the cat in them, your jaw just drops with delight,” McKellen continued. “Dame Judi and I and James Corden and all the rest, Taylor Swift, we’re all busy doing our version of cats.”

So, there we have it – it all makes total sense. And besides, who would dare to argue with a Knight of the realm?

Directed by Tom Hooper (Les Misérables, The King’s Speech), the big screen adaptation of Lloyd Webber’s long-running stage musical also stars Rebel Wilson, Jason Derulo, newcomer Francesca Hayward, Ray Winstone, and Jennifer Hudson.

Wilson has also responded to the initial response to the Cats trailer, saying: “I loved the reaction. I think it was a bit polarizing and people will be super curious to see the finished product.”

The Cats movie arrives in theaters December 20, so we won’t have long to wait. In the meantime, you can catch Sir Ian McKellen on The Graham Norton Show this Friday at 11/10c on BBC America.

Are you looking forward to seeing Cats on the big screen?

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Filed Under: cats, Sir Ian McKellen
By Nick Levine