Musical theatre actor Naoimh Morgan has landed her first film role in a screen adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats. Morgan tells Giverny Masso how she initially auditioned for the chorus before being offered one of the lead parts…
How did you get into the Cats movie?
The last musical theatre show I did was the international tour of Cats [with David Ian Productions], which was the same role I’m playing now. After that, I said to my agent: “I’m going to take a couple of weeks off.” Then I got a message saying: “We have an audition for Cats the movie.” It was a dream come true and I auditioned for the chorus. The casting directors said: “We have our eyes on you, we think you’d be suitable for one of the named roles.” I tried to keep calm and said: “That’s fine.” I did another workshop and in a matter of days I was cast as Rumpleteazer, after being initially asked to audition for the chorus.
How did it feel to get the role?
I was so emotional, it felt like everything escalated, there wasn’t time to think. My heart was beating so fast and I couldn’t wait to tell all my family members. It’s my first film role – it’s always been my dream. This has been my biggest achievement yet.
Did you play the role differently in the film compared to on stage?
From playing Rumpleteazer on stage, I had a good idea of who she was. In the audition room I sang it one way and they said: “We’re going to try a different approach and make it a little darker.” They didn’t want that youthful, spritely kitten. The role is to corrupt the other cat Victoria into our ways. It’s not like in theatre where you get away with being chirpy. So she’s a lot darker but still lovely and cheeky. It was a challenge for me to change her character.
What do you like about the film adaptation?
There are so many different elements to it, what Tom [Hooper, director] has done is so clever. A story has been developed where there wasn’t much of one before, centred around Victoria the White Cat. Andy [Blankenbuehler], the choreographer, has done something new. Gillian Lynne’s choreography is fantastic and iconic, but Andy has put a new spin on it. We’re so blessed to have a talented cast from many different backgrounds, from [dance duo] Les Twins to people from Poldark and contemporary dance. All of those elements are brought to life in this movie, it will blow people’s minds.
How did you get into theatre?
My mum was a dancer and she taught me everything. She was my dance teacher and she got me into it aged three. I studied at Laine Theatre Arts and my first job was West Side Story at Kilworth House Theatre, it was such a huge dance role and it was a dream show.
What do you want to do next?
I will push for more screen roles. This movie will open doors for me. I could never fully leave musical theatre though, because that’s where I come from. I’m inspired by actors such as Rachel McAdams and Kate Winslet, they can do so many different styles. I’d love to be a leading actress who has loads of different qualities.
Training: BA in musical theatre at Laine Theatre Arts in Epsom (2011-14)
First professional role: Singer and dancer with P&O Cruises (2014)
Agent: John Rogerson at Soundcheck Agency
Cats is scheduled for release in December this year