If you’re going to make a live-action version of the classic Andrew Lloyd Webber Broadway smash musical Cats, you can’t just jump in the deep end without any sort of training. They’re not like dogs, you know. Cats are stoic! Humble! Graceful! Blithe! But most of all, they don’t give a dang and they’re sick of your nonsense. It takes quite a lot of meow-tuning to get that role purrrrfect.
No wonder James Corden had to take the cast of Cats, which includes Rebel Wilson, Taylor Swift, Jennifer Hudson, Jason Derulo and Francesca Hayward, through their paces Thursday night on The Late Late Show. Director Tom Hooper wouldn’t settle for anything less than absolute and total realism.
As James Corden entered the room purring and posturing with all the finesse of a feisty feline, Tom Hooper didn’t even recognize him–making him the perfect candidate to teach the class. “That’s the level,” he advised with smugness after the cast nearly lost their cat-danged minds to discover it was HE who was slinking around Hooper’s legs. Oh dear, James, this is not going to turn out well for you.
As the Cats cast (try saying that five times, fast) were instructed on how to meow, lap milk, ignore human interaction, destroy a ball of yarn, and chase a laser pointer, tensions began to boil. While Taylor and Rebel had early successes, they soon grew bitter toward their demanding teacher.
“So what breed of cat would James Corden be?” Rebel Wilson mused as she added a mickey of vodka to their large bowl of milk. “Uhhh, I think I’d call him a total d**k.” We’ll have to double-check that breed with the local vet but we’re sure that checks out.
“I was just recently named Artist of the Decade,” Taylor Swift said in an aside to the camera, “but after people see me lap up milk from that giant saucer, pretty sure they’ll take that away.”
Man, did someone touch these cat’s tummies? (Never touch a cat’s tummy! They will rip your face off!). Melissa McCarthy and Allison Janney wouldn’t behave this way!
“Being a cat is a lot like being an actor,” Jason Derulo mused, “you sleep for most of the day, then scream at somebody if you need to, then eat a can of tuna, then p**s wherever you want.” Is that so? We don’t remember that on the course curriculum of Julliard, but we suppose that makes sense. His words came back to haunt him when he asked to use the restroom and James pointed him toward a giant litter box in the middle of the room. Come on now, Corden. At least grant these Cats their dignity!
In the end, Andrew Lloyd Webber himself arrived to present the Best in Show award (and a lifetime supply of Meow Mix) to Jennifer Hudson. Jennifer, throw your Oscar in the trash where it belongs. This is the highest honour a cool cat can receive.
Watch The Late Late Show with James Corden weekdays at 12:37 a.m. ET on CTV.