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NPR Arts & Life

Jellicle Songs For Jellicle Cats, And A Trailer For The Internet To Talk About

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Fresh hell ignited social media this week, or was it heaven?

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SIMON: It took form with claws and whiskers and scampered across a dark London alley before...

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "CATS")

JAMES CORDEN: (As Bustopher Jones) Here we go, ha-ha.

SIMON: Oh, my great Bustopher Jones. It's the 2-minute-and-22-second trailer for the movie "Cats." "Cats," as in the long-running Broadway Andrew Lloyd Webber musical with lithe dancers in cat suits. "Cats," the movie, uses a digital fur technology that makes a troupe of plummy actors look like - well, hear this reaction we found on YouTube.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: This is freaking me out.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: I mean, this is probably scarier than the "It" trailer.

SIMON: To see the faces of Jennifer Hudson, James Corden, Taylor Swift, Idris Elba, Sir Ian McKellen, for goodness sakes, and even Dame Judi Dench for the love of Rum Tum Tugger - Dame Judi. They're famous faces only faintly recognizable when superimposed over the heads of human, feline hybrids like some Snapchat filter had a breakdown.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

TAYLOR ROBINSON: It's horrific. This is what happens when you look at the technology we have and go, you didn't ask if we should. You just asked if we could.

JACOB BLUNDEN: (Laughter).

ROBINSON: And this is the result...

SIMON: That's Taylor Robinson and Jacob Blunden - he's the one laughing hysterically on YouTube. On Twitter, Dave Itzkoff mused, in a way, I'm glad Grumpy cat never had to see this.

Now there were people who suspended disbelief, like this Taylor Swift fan named Rachel (ph)...

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

RACHEL: Oh, my God. Taylor is a cat. Oh, my God. You can see it all in the eyes.

SIMON: Elaine Hendrix tweeted I watched the trailer and cried big kitten tears. Can't wait for the movie. And, of course, more than one person tweeted, I loved it. It was much better than "Cats." I'm going to see it again and again, now and forever.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MEMORY")

ELAINE PAIGE: (Singing) Memory, all alone in the moonlight. I can smile at the old days. I was beautiful then. I remember... Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.