Veteran actor Judi Dench is the latest A-lister to board the voice cast of Cats, the film adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s beloved musical. The 83-year-old actor joins Taylor Swift, Jennifer Hudson, James Corden and Ian McKellen and Idris Elba in the cast, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Oscar-winning director Tom Hooper will helm the project which is expected to start shooting in England next month, reported Deadline. Lee Hall will adapt the screenplay for the musical, which Lloyd Webber based on T.S. Eliot’s children’s poems.
The story follows a tribe of cats called the Jellicles and the night they make what is known as “the Jellicle choice” and decide which cat will ascend to the Heaviside Layer and come back to a new life.
Hudson, who won an Oscar in 2007 for her role in Dreamgirls, will take on the role of Grizabella, a former glamour cat ostracised by the Jellicles, while McKellan will play Old Deuteronomy, the elderly Jellicle Leader. Elba is in talks to play Macavity, the villain of the piece. Dench will portray the Old Deuteronomy, the Jellicle leader who is kidnapped by Macavity.
The stage version of the musical is the fourth-longest-running show in Broadway history and the sixth-longest-running in London’s West End.
The film is being produced by Hooper, Debra Hayward and Working Title’s Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner.