Tom Hooper’s 2019 adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s beloved musical production Cats was so abhorrent that it picked up multiple awards for ‘Worst Movie of the Year’. Described as an “airless, lifeless bubble of a film,” Cats was heavily criticised for its ineffective visual style as well as the poor character design. Many still believe that the film was specifically made for an audience of furries.
In a star-studded cast with the likes of Judi Dench, Sir Ian McKellen and Taylor Swift, Jennifer Hudson featured as the tragic figure of Grizabella the Glamour Cat. First created by T. S. Eliot, Grizabella is a lonely old cat who is no longer accepted by the others of her tribe.
While looking back on the production, Hudson reflected: “For me, Grizabella was almost too emotional. I was like, ‘Well, how many tears can she cry?’ Do you understand the depths that I have to go to to be able to give you what is honest emotion? As an actor, the trick is keeping that to yourself.”
Hudson revealed: “Well, I didn’t know I’d have ears or a tail.” She also explained that the emotional range of the character was the real challenge: “That was… phew. It was heavy and emotional the entire time…because that’s all Grizabella did. It was about being rejected.”
The actress explained why she had to go the extra mile to get the rendition just right: “She was at her lowest point. And I had to carry that. I sang it live every time. The snot that was coming out, that was real. Every inch of it. And I was like, ‘If people only knew. The depth of that emotion.'”