Sir Ian McKellen has said the musical Cats is a “ridiculous enterprise” but he believes it will be a classic film.
The Lord Of The Rings star plays Gus the Theatre Cat in director Tom Hooper’s big screen version of Lord Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s hit stage show.
He stars opposite Dame Judi Dench, Taylor Swift, Idris Elba, Jennifer Hudson, Rebel Wilson and Royal Ballet star Francesca Hayward in the blockbuster, which uses “digital fur technology” to create feline bodies for the famous faces.
Discussing being in a movie of a show widely considered to be unfilmable, he said: “It’s not only unfilmable, it’s unstageable. It’s a ridiculous enterprise, but is one of the most successful musicals in the history of world theatre – and I suspect it’s going to be a classic film.
“I was overwhelmed with joy when I saw it, and I’m not really a cat person, I prefer dogs.
“But there’s so much talent on the screen and Judi and I were just sat down, for many days, watching the young dancers who worked very long hours and never complained and were always good, whether they were tap dancing or doing classical or hip hop.”
He continued: “Because I’m a devotee of the art form of pantomime, it’s not an insult to say that Cats on stage is a bit of panto, which is a plus for me, but it’s of that genre.
“Tom Hooper has managed to make it into something quite different and for me, very, very engaging indeed because it’s not only very funny at times; it’s suddenly unexpectedly alluring, and not just because of the music, because of the performance and this wonderful dancing.”
Cats is released in UK cinemas on December 20.