Andrew Lloyd Webber has criticised James Corden’s performance in the movie adaptation of his musical Cats.
The British actor-turned-chat show host played Bustopher Jones in Tom Hooper’s film alongside Rebel Wilson, Idris Elba, Jason Derulo, and Judi Dench, though the feature was critically panned upon its release in December.
Webber, who composed the stage musical based on the poetry of T. S. Eliot, recently gave a livestream commentary to accompany the 1998 filmed version of his production, and suggested he wasn’t a fan of Corden’s portrayal.
“Do not be beguiled by other versions,” Lloyd Webber said during Bustopher’s big scene. “Other versions with unfunny interpolations which I begged to be cut out… I did manage to get the worst removed.”
“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.”
While he didn’t mention Corden by name, he made clear reference to the 2019 film when he said, “He certainly didn’t hang around on a seesaw,” as he rolled his eyes.
“This is a song about wit – not coarse jokes,” he continued. “It’s also about taking the song at the right speed.”
Lloyd Webber’s comments come after Corden opened up about the film’s poor reception during an interview with The New Yorker, admitting that he hadn’t actually watched the movie himself.
“I can’t imagine I’ll see it,” he said. “It’s important to say I had the best time making it. At some point you have to go, ‘How am I going to judge my own experience? Am I only going to have enjoyed something if it was successful?'”
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