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CGI catsuits make purrfect costumes for Idris Elba and his fur-mous co-stars

Ever wondered what rumoured James Bond and world’s sexiest man Idris Elba would look like in one of those ping-pong-ball-covered CGI bodysuits, padding around like a cat and pawing at an imaginary mouse?

Me neither. But an audience in LA got to see just this last week, in the first glimpse behind the scenes of the film version of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats.

You’ve got to hand it to the Lord – in Hollywood-ifying itself, Cats, which is essentially the most shamelessly stagey musical of them all, has managed to attract a baffling number of bona fide stars: Elba, Jennifer Hudson, Taylor Swift, Judi Dench, Ian McKellen, Rebel Wilson… hell, even Jason Derulo is in it.

But gone are the tights and the leg warmers, the furry ruffs and the drawn-on whiskers. For the increasingly mad-sounding movie, actors have been CGI’d into real cats and filmed on giant sets to make them look the size of actual cats. But what about those fluffy costumes we’ve come to know and love? Three words: Digital. Fur. Technology.

Oh yes. Universal said “virtual cat hair” will be stuck on, post-production, to create “the most perfect covering of fur”.

This was surprisingly not an April Fool’s joke, and everyone’s taking it very seriously, including Elba himself, who said he’d worked hard to inform his performance with “the cat perspective”. No jokes, he said: this is fur real.

Judi Dench to star in screen adaptation of Cats [1]