Here’s the star-studded cast of the ‘Cats’ movie and who they’re playing

This is Judi Dench as a cat!

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This is Judi Dench as a cat!
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Universal Pictures

Universal Pictures is bringing “Cats,” one of the longest-running Broadway shows, to theaters this December.

The first trailer for the movie was released Thursday afternoon and people are having strong reactions to the trailer, which features an A-list cast ranging from Taylor Swift to Judi Dench and Ian McKellen.

The movie follows a group of cats, the Jellicles, who decide to send one cat to “the Heaviside Layer” (aka heaven) to be reborn. In the Andrew Lloyd Webber play, each cat gets its own individual song in which they introduce themselves.

INSIDER rounded up the big celebrities you can expect to see when “Cats” comes to theaters Friday, December 20.


Jennifer Hudson plays Grizabella.

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Grizabella is seen as an outcast.
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Jeff Spicer/Getty Images, Universal Pictures

Grizabella sings “Memory,” which is the most popular song from the musical. Betty Buckley won a Tony Award for her role as the character in 1983.


Taylor Swift plays the flirtatious feline Bombalurina.

The cat is described as a confident cat. In the musical, she flirts with Rum Tum Tugger.

Swift is a big cat fan, with three of her own.


Jason Derulo plays the part of Rum Tum Tugger.

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The character is self-centered and flirtatious.
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Li Jin/VCG via Getty Images, Universal Pictures

The cat always like to hog up the spotlight and be the center of attention.


Rebel Wilson plays the tabby cat Jennyanydots.

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Jennyanydots sings the song “The Old Grumble Cat.”
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John Sciulli/Getty Images, Universal Pictures

Jennyanydots performs a tap-dancing routine in the musical.


James Corden plays the smart Bustopher Jones.

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Bustopher Jones appears in the song “Bustopher Jones: the Cat About Town.”
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Theo Wargo/Getty Image, Universal Pictures

The cat enjoys life and travels to gentleman’s clubs in the musical.


Idris Elba plays the criminal, Macavity.

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Idris Elba also plays the villain in Universal’s “Fast and Furious” spinoff, “Hobbes & Shaw.”
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Alexander Koerner/Getty Images, Universal Pictures

Macavity doesn’t have any songs in the Broadway musical. We may see Elba play a larger role here.


Ian McKellen plays Gus the Theater Cat.

Gus sings a song about his acting career.


Judi Dench plays the loving, revered cat Old Deuteronomy.

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Old Deuteronomy is a respected elder of the cat community.
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Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images, Universal Pictures

The cat is the leader of the Jellicles and has to decide which cat will go to heaven.


Ballerina Francesca Hayward will play Victoria.

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Victoria is the main white cat seen throughout the trailer.
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Robbie Jack/Corbis via Getty Images, Universal Pictures

The shy cat gets its own ballet solo. Hayward is a dancer in the Royal Ballet and has played Juliet in “Romeo and Juliet,” Aurora in “The Sleeping Beauty,” and the Sugar Plum Fairy in “The Nutcracker.”


Laurie Davidson plays the tuxedo cat, Mr. Mistoffelees.

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The character is usually played by a strong dancer.
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Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images, Universal Pictures

The cat has magical powers and also gets his own dance solo. Davidson appeared on TNT’s “Will” and will be in the movie “The Good Liar” with Ian McKellen.


Here’s the rest of the cast.

  • Ray Winstone is playing the pirate cat Growltiger.
  • Melissa Madden-Gray is Growltiger’s lover Griddlebone.
  • Former ballet star Robert Fairchild is playing Munkustrap who introduces the many cat’s songs.
  • Steven McRae, a principal dancer at the Royal Ballet, is playing Skimbleshanks, a cat who works on a train.
  • Daniela Norman is Demeter, Bombalurina’s (Taylor Swift) friend.
  • UK singer Bluey Robinson is Alonzo, a cat who fights with Macavity.
  • French dancers Larry and Laurent Bourgeois are Plato and Socrates, respectively. The latter role was created for the film.
  • British actress and dancer Zizi Strallen is Tantomile and dancer Jaih Betote is Coricopat, two psychic kittens.
  • British ballet dancer Eric Underwood is Admetus, one of the few cats who doesn’t get a solo.
  • Freya Underwood is Jellylorum who takes care of Gus.
  • Mette Towley is an elegant cat named Cassandra.