There’s a bunch of trepidation regarding the upcoming Tom Hooper-directed adaptation of the Broadway musical “Cats” which wrapped shooting this week.
While much of the criticism is people who simply aren’t fans of the original Andrew Lloyd Weber musical, some of the concern is in relation to the fact that it’s not clear what they’re doing with the movie.
Is it like the stage version with just people in skintight leotards and make-up? Is it a fully animated feature with only voice over? Is it an entirely motion-capture green screen style deal ala “The Adventures of Tintin”?
Now, as part of Universal Pictures’ presentation at CinemaCon, a featurette was screened explaining a little bit about what to expect. The answer – it’s mo-capped actors belting out numbers on gigantic sets.
No final footage from the film was shown, instead it was on-set footage in which Hooper revealed he’s using performance capture to make his actors look like they have real fur on them. Footage was seen of the actors, who reportedly studied cat movements, in mo-cap outfits and with facial reference dots performing their role.
Unlike most mo-cap though, this wasn’t done on a green screen stage but rather on physical sets that are three to four times the usual size for perspective – giving the actors ‘a cat’s eye view’. Huge chairs and tables were seen with actors running and dancing under them.
The plan is to combine the tech with ‘all disciplines of dance’ to offer a ‘rather modern’ take on the musical even whilst using the now decades old music numbers. Taylor Swift, Judi Dench, Idris Elba, Ian McKellen and Jennifer Hudson amongst others star in the film which opens at Christmas.