Who knew “Cats” composer Andrew Lloyd Webber could be so, well, catty? On Friday, Lloyd Webber recorded a livestream commentary for the 1998 filmed version of his beloved musical based on some of the more whimsical poetry of T.S. Eliot — and he threw some heavy shade on director Tom Hooper’s 2019 big-screen adaptation when the scene with feline dandy Bustopher Jones came on.
“Do not be beguiled by other versions,” Lloyd Webber said, “other versions with unfunny interpolations which I begged to be cut out.” He added, cryptically, “I did manage to get the worst removed.”
Though he doesn’t actually mention James Corden by name, it’s pretty clear that he’s referencing the late-night host’s performance in the 2019 box office flop — which purists faulted for turning the roly-poly, white-spats-wearing Bustopher into an overly broad four-legged fat joke. A rep for Corden did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.
“I cannot tell you how absolutely un-Eliot it all was, in this song,” Lloyd Webber added, noting that the poet “is making this wonderful, wonderful observation about the kind of big sort of guy who always had a routine and bustled around St. James, from club to club to club.” He then described a real-life London dandy whom he met through his father and imagined “would have been a wonderful Bustopher.”
“He certainly didn’t hang around on a seesaw,” Lloyd Webber added with a roll of his eyes, in a clear reference to the playground staple that appears in Hooper’s film.
“This is a song about wit — not coarse jokes,” the composer continued, chortling to himself after he faults Corden’s musicality as well. “It’s also about taking the song at the right speed.”
Watch the video above.
Razzie Awards: Every Worst Picture 'Winner,' From 'Can't Stop the Music' to 'Cats' (Photos)
A look back at the cinematic turkeys recognized by the Golden Raspberry Awards
Since 1980, UCLA film grads and industry veterans John J. B. Wilson and Mo Murphy have honored the very worst in cinema with the Razzie Awards. Here's a look back to the worst pictures of the last four decades.