Rebel Wilson and James Corden tricked Cats director Tom Cooper to give them a more relaxing job on set by suggesting that their characters would most likely just be lounging in the corner, resting on pillows. The pair revealed the Jellicle trickery during an interview above on the Corden-hosted The Late Late Show December 5.
While filming a big scene featuring the two, plus Idris Elba, Taylor Swift, Judi Dench, Ian McKellen, and more, Hooper wanted to have them tied up to a pole in the middle of the scene. That didn’t work for Wilson, though: “You don’t get any breaks if you’re in all the shots.” So, Wilson suggested it wasn’t realistic to have two cats tied up—they’d just escape.
Judging by the photo Corden shared of the two of them lounging, they got their way. “James and I are the comedy cats; it’s 18th century poetry, but we bring the laughs,” said Wilson.
The pair weren’t the only Jellicles to visit a late-night couch December 5. Royal Ballet principal dancer Francesca Hayward, who plays Victoria, dropped by Jimmy Kimmel Live! and said the on-set behavior specialist did their job so well that she started exhibiting Jellicle tendencies off set.
One weekend while filming, Hayward noticed several pairs of eyes watching her. “My friends would look at me really weird and say, ‘Frankie, you just picked that up like a cat,’” the star told Jimmy Kimmel below. It seems Hayward, who plays Victoria, was destined to be in the film adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical, having watched the staged recording of Cats and dance in her living room as a kid.
Despite knowing the material, she told Kimmel that her first audition was terrifying, even though she just sang in front of one person. Eventually, the star was able to build up confidence to perform “Beautiful Ghosts” in front of songwriters Swift and Lloyd Webber as the audition process went on.