Cats is hitting theaters again in 2019 — as a film rather than a Broadway play. The long-awaited adaptation of Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber’s infamous musical (which is one of the longest-running shows in West End and Broadway history) already has a superstar cast, with new names being added all the time. The newest addition has us especially excited: Idris Elba.
Variety reports that Elba will join Sir Ian McKellen, Jennifer Hudson, Taylor Swift, James Corden and Laurie Davidson in Cats, which is being directed by Tom Hooper (Les Misérables, The King’s Speech). This will be Elba’s second turn in a feline role. In 2016, he played Shere Khan in the 2016 live-action version of Disney’s The Jungle Book.
According to IMDb, Elba has been cast as Macavity in the upcoming Cats adaptation. The character hails from T.S. Eliot’s poem “Macavity the Mystery Cat,” which is part of the Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats — which inspired Webber’s Broadway hit. Macavity is a master criminal and the only real villain in the play; he kidnaps the leader of the Jellicles and attempts to kidnap another cat, Demeter, who sings one of two songs about him in the musical.
Twitter fans were absolutely loving this casting announcement when it broke. In a viral tweet, performer Natalie Walker wrote the very, ahem, vivid tweet: “If Andrew Lloyd Webber gives me Idris Elba in spandex………… ok bitch that is a checkmate on Sondheim.” We get it, sis. We totally get it.
If Andrew Lloyd Webber gives me Idris Elba in spandex………… ok bitch that is a checkmate on Sondheim https://t.co/QPXqahbzRP
— Natalie Walker (@nwalks) October 16, 2018
Clearly, people are into Elba as Macavity. Another said they’re looking forward to the film for two reasons: “It is going to have Idris Elba and Taylor Swift and it is going to be so EPIC and I am a kid again and in love with this idea.”
Another user reminded those who are new to Cats that it’s unlikely Elba will be singing any solos in this role: “It is really important to me, as someone who has seen CATS on Broadway 3 (!!) times, that you know that Macavity does not actually sing the ‘Macavity’ song. Two other cats do. So unless they rework things, @idriselba will not have a solo in the live action CATS movie. I’m sorry.”
It is really important to me, as someone who has seen CATS on Broadway 3 (!!) times, that you know that Macavity does not actually sing the "Macavity" song. Two other cats do. So unless they rework things, @idriselba will not have a solo in the live action CATS movie. I'm sorry.
— Ginger Clark (@Ginger_Clark) October 18, 2018
Someone else chimed, “IF IDRIS ELBA IS CAST AS MACAVITY I WILL LOSE. IT. Big time, big girl tears levels of lose it.” Please don’t lose it, dear Twitter fan!
IF IDRIS ELBA IS CAST AS MACAVITY I WILL LOSE. IT. Big time, big girl tears levels of lose it. https://t.co/FDMOZoY5wK
— David Lindhagen (@VerifiedMinnie) October 18, 2018
And naturally, there were just lots of tweets from like-minded folks who are just super-into Elba’s casting, full stop.
wow up in a cold sweat realizing I had not fully processed the news Idris Elba is playing Macavity in CATS
— Jackson McHenry (@McHenryJD) October 17, 2018
When I think about Idris Elba potentially playing a cat in Cats pic.twitter.com/dh05e4PWBN
— Lisa Ryan (@lisarya) October 18, 2018
We know that Elba can handle playing a bad cat because he did so well with Shere Khan, so we can’t wait to see how he handles Macavity on the big screen. We’re curious how the cast will continue to shape up — and we’re sure the first trailer is going to be a doozy.