Ian McKellen Teases His Role in “Cats” Movie, Finding His “Inner Pussy”

The actor and activist is playing Gus the Theatre Cat in the live-action adaptation.

Isn’t Ian McKellen just the cat’s meow?

The celebrated 79-year-old actor is purrfectly cast as Gus the Theatre Cat in Tom Hooper’s (The King’s Speech, Les Misérables) upcoming live-action film adaptation of Cats, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s hit musical.

The movie musical will also star Jennifer Hudson, Taylor Swift, James Corden, Idris Elba, and Dame Judi Dench.

McKellen, best known to mainstream audiences as Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings films and Magneto in the X-Men franchise, sang a snippet from his Cats character’s big number on the latest episode of The Graham Norton Show, which airs Fridays on BBC America.
 

“You might well ask, how do you prepare for being a cat?” McKellen asked his host, answering, “Well, at the moment, I’m looking for the inner pussy… the moggy-ness that is within us all. And, umm, not doing very well at it!”

“I thought of going on a cat diet, you know, weekends just eating cat food, seeing if that helps,” he continued. “I’ve always thought that tinned cat food smelt as if it might be rather tasty. It isn’t.”

Billy Elliot screenwriter Lee Hall has written the screenplay for Cats, which is expected to begin production later this year in London.

Based on T.S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, a collection of poems, Cats is the fourth longest-running show in Broadway history: The original production opened on Broadway in 1983 and ran for 18 years. A 2016 Broadway revival closed the following year.

Cats is set to open in theaters December 20, 2019.
 

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