Cats featured a who’s who of famous names playing the Jellicle felines, with stars as varied as Judi Dench and Taylor Swift donning some CGI fur and belting out songs. But it turns out one famous name managed to narrowly escape association with the now-infamous big screen musical: none other than Hugh Jackman. In an interview with The Daily Beast, the former Wolverine said that the film’s director, Tom Hooper, had a couple of roles he wanted to cast him in. But he simply wasn’t available.
“You know, Tom rang me early on because we did Les Mis together” Jackman said. “And there were a couple of options there based on availability and time, and I really… yeah, I just wasn’t available at the time.”
20th Century Studios
So, just which singing and dancing kitty cat would Jackman have played? We have a hunch. Skimbleshanks is the only major cast member who wasn’t played by a “big name” actor, having been portrayed in the film by stage actor Steven McRae. Skimble is canonically an older cat, and Jackman is in his 50s. Not to mention the fact that Jackman is a trained singer and dancer, so it makes sense that they probably wanted him for that part. Jackman did say “a couple of roles,” so it’s possible Hooper could have offered him another character as well.
Ever the gentleman, Jackman went on to say, “I’m in the theater, man, and I don’t want to be in the business of bashing people—or jumping on bandwagons. I haven’t seen it, and Tom Hooper’s one of the great filmmakers we have.” Truthfully, even if he had been in Cats, it’s highly doubtful it would have harmed his career much. It’s not like Judi Dench, Jennifer Hudson, or Idris Elba are in “actor jail” Jackman would have weathered the whole Cats storm just fine.
Featured Image: 20th Century Studios