American singer and actress Jennifer Hudson rose to prominence with her appearance in American Idol which granted her subsequent acting parts and major roles. Her most recent project was Respect, a biopic about the rise of the indomitable ‘Queen of Soul’, Aretha Franklin.
While the film was criticised for its lack of adequate directorial vision, everyone acknowledged that Hudson was one of the few artists capable of such a demanding portrayal.
Among her other notable projects is the 2019 adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s famous musical Cats by Tom Hooper. Featuring the likes of Sir Ian McKellen, Judi Dench and Taylor Swift among others, Cats starred Hudson as Grizabella – a lonely old cat who is crushed by how she is oppressed and rejected by society.
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.”
Cats was panned by anyone and everyone with eyes, with many people claiming it was one of the worst films of the 21st century. Described as an “airless, lifeless bubble of a film,” the film had no coherence and proudly displayed horrendous character design. However, Hudson claims that it is a completely misunderstood masterpiece that wasn’t properly processed by audiences.
“It’s unfortunate that it was misunderstood,” Hudson said in an interview with Total Film. “I think later down the line, people will see it differently. But it is something I am still very proud of and grateful to have been a part of. Yeah, I got to be Grizabella the Glamour Cat!”