“Cats” Backlash & Gender Change Talk

Cats Backlash Gender Change Talk

Another day and more wild “Cats” story and this time it’s not about the box-office or the unfinished VFX.

Dame Judi Dench stars in the film in the role of Old Deutoronomy, a part that traditionally on the stage has been played by a male actor. Beloved boomy voiced actor Brian Blessed of “Flash Gordon” and “I, Claudius” fame played the role in the original West End production.

The character serves as a paternal figure for the other Jellicle cats, and serves as the judge of the Jellicle Ball – the key event that dominates the story.

In an interview with Out magazine (via The Playlist), Dench talked about being cast in the film, saying “it’s glorious to have been included in it… all I can hear is Brian Blessed all the time in the production that I wasn’t able to be in.”

Asked about being cast in a traditionally male role, Dench teased: “I kind of call it ‘Trans Deuteronomy,’ is the part for me, you know…. it was lovely, lovely to be led about and be an aged cat, very nice indeed.”

Her co-star, musician Jason Derulo who plays Rum Tum Tugger, isn’t so pleased. Speaking with TMZ about the film’s poor reviews, he says:

“Any time you defy what an art form is, any time you defy all rules, there’s going to be some push-back, obviously. But it’s an incredible piece of art done by some of the best people in the world. I am just excited for the people to actually see it because reviewers, I mean, what the hell do they know? Have they made a film ever in their life?.”

“Cats” opened at the U.S. box office to $6.5 million, and fared worse internationally with $4.4 million, bringing its worldwide debut to $10.9 million. With a $100 million production budget, the film is looking likely to be a costly flop for Universal.