Ian McKellen Defends The ‘Cats’ Movie’s Unsettling Use Of CGI With An Even Weirder Explanation

For the most part, Universal Pictures has ignored the initial outcry caused by the Cats trailer that dropped a few months ago. Yet this hasn’t stopped some of the musical adaptation’s stars from answering questions about its merits while promoting other projects along the way. Like Ian McKellen, who’s currently promoting his film The Good Liar with co-star Helen Mirren. During a joint interview with Entertainment Tonight, the inevitable “Why CGI cat people?” question was asked, and ever the thespian, McKellen did his best to offer a convincing explanation. It was… odd.

“The stage show, Cats, was not about a lot of people being convincing as cats, but it was about human beings discovering their cat-like nature,” he said, adding that this method “was hugely successful”:

“When it was now being done in film, the temptation I think must have been to turn those actors into cats, like Lion King, and make them look like real cats, but they’re not real cats,” he added. “They’re people playing cats, and that is the notion of the film, and it’s been done very wittingly, I think, and particularly the dancers.”

“To see a young person discovering the cat in them, your jaw just drops with delight,” McKellen added. “Dame Judy [Dench] and I and James Corden and all the rest, Taylor Swift, we’re all busy doing our version of cats.”

On the one paw, McKellen’s verbose explanation makes sense, as Andrew Lloyd Webber’s original musical was less about convincing theatergoers they were seeing believable cats on stage. So, now that the musical is heading to the movies, director Tom Hooper opted for “digital fur technology” since moviegoers often prize believability, especially when it comes to overused and underwhelming computer effects.

On the other paw, he’s really concerned with convincing (or not convincing) audiences that people are actual cats.

(Via Entertainment Tonight)