Diehard fans of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical Cats may be in for a shock with reports that the musical theatre maestro has teamed up to write a new song for the forthcoming film adaptation with Taylor Swift.
Swift’s involvement in the much-discussed live-action musical has already been a point of note: she will make a furry appearance in the film as the character of Bombalurina. But her involvement has apparently gone further, with Lloyd Webber telling the Daily Mail that she had written the lyrics to a new song, called Beautiful Ghosts, for the film.
The song will feature in a performance by ballet dancer Francesca Hayward, who plays the feline character of Victoria, a role that has been expanded from the stage version to make it more central to the plot.
Lloyd Webber told the newspaper the song would also be sung briefly by Dame Judy Dench, who plays Old Deuteronomy. It was reportedly written over a year ago.
Swift will also perform her own version of the song over the end credits. The new song means the film becomes eligible for best song categories in prestigious annual film awards such as the Academy awards. Swift has never won an Oscar, although Lloyd Webber has – in 1997, with Tim Rice, for a song from Evita.
Lloyd Webber penned the score for the original stage musical, based on TS Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, in 1977 and it was first performed on stage in 1981. The wafer-thin plot tells the story of the Jellicles, a colony of cats, over the night of their annual Jellicle ball.
The forthcoming film adaptation is directed by Tom Hooper, who was behind the 2012 live-action version of Les Misérables. Its ensemble cast contains some of the biggest names in film and television, including Dench, Jennifer Hudson, Idris Elba, Rebel Wilson, Jason Derulo, and Sir Ian McKellen.
The trailer for the film sent jaws dropping when it debuted in July, depicting as it did not actual cats, but humans apparently transmogrified into dancing and singing, oddly sized furry human-cat hybrids.
Some viewers called the trailer cursed, nightmarish, and resembling a “demented dream ballet”.
Cats opens in cinemas in the UK, US and Australia in December.