2004’s The Phantom Of The Opera was the last stab at a big-screen Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, but now the composer says his massively successful Cats may soon make it to the screen, thanks in part to the success of last year’s Les Misérables. “I haven’t seen the film, but it’s fantastic for musicals because everybody wants to make them again,” he told the Daily Mail in a recent interview. “Universal has now got Cats out of the drawer in which they locked it years ago when they bought the rights and suddenly they’re talking about a film.”
Plans to make a Cats film were first announced in 1990, when Steven Spielberg was set to produce an animated adaptation. By that point, Cats was nine years into what would be a 21-year run in London. “It’s literally a match made in heaven,” Universal’s then-president Tom Pollock said about the Webber-Spielberg collaboration. “Both Steven and Andrew obviously have a strong sense of just what it is that the public wants to see.” But the animated Cats never came to fruition; Spielberg’s short-lived Amblimation joint animation venture with Universal only survived long enough to produce An American Tail: Fievel Goes West, We’re Back! A Dinosaur’s Story, and the sled-dog saga Balto.
The musical’s famous fans include O.J. Simpson, who was heard humming snatches from the score in 1994 during jury selection for his murder trial. The song in question was “Memory.” He told reporters: “It has that line ‘touch me.’ That really gets to me because it says touch me, and I think of my kids because I can’t touch them.”