Broadway legend Andrew Lloyd Webber, the composer behind popular musicals such as Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita, and The Phantom Of The Opera, has dropped all niceties when it comes to the heavily mocked and absolutely tragic film adaptation of his musical Cats in 2019. You know, the one with the overly sexual anthropomorphic cats featuring Jason Derulo, James Corden, Taylor Swift, Rebel Wilson, Judi Dench, and Jennifer Hudson?
In an interview with Variety, Lloyd Webber says the source material for Cats was sold to Amblin, where it was initially set to become a Steven Spielberg-directed animated feature. However, the project was eventually handed to director Tom Hooper, known for his work on the film adaptations of Les Misérables and The King’s Speech. Previously, Lloyd Webber called Hooper’s approach to the film “ridiculous.”
For the revered composer, the end result was a feature so abhorrent he adopted a dog for the first time in an effort to erase any memory of Cats.
“Cats was off-the-scale all wrong,” Lloyd Webber tells Variety. “There wasn’t really any understanding of why the music ticked at all. I saw it and I just thought, ‘Oh, God, no.’ It was the first time in my 70-odd years on this planet that I went out and bought a dog. So the one good thing to come out of it is my little Havanese puppy.”
This puppy has become his close companion, and as Broadway reopens, Lloyd Webber found the perfect reason to bring him on his travels.
“I wrote off and said I needed him with me at all times because I’m emotionally damaged and I must have this therapy dog,” says Lloyd Webber. “The airline wrote back and said, ‘Can you prove that you really need him?’ And I said ‘Yes, just see what Hollywood did to my musical Cats.’ Then the approval came back with a note saying, ‘No doctor’s report required.’”