Judi Dench Will Be Deuteronomy In Cats

Judi Dench

by James White |
Published on

The cast of the Cats musical movie adaptation has been growing suddenly in the last few days, as if a litter of actors was delivered. And the latest new addition brings quite the stature, as Judi Dench will join the ranks.

Dench is on to play Deuteronomy in the story, a role traditionally played by a man. The character's role in the film is to rule over the others and select one feline to be reborn into a new life on the Heaviside Layer by cat tradition and belief. The patriarch – now, refreshingly a matriarch – ends up captured by Macavity (recent recruit Idris Elba) and must escape his clutches. Dench has a history with Cats, albeit a thwarted one; she was in line to play Grizabella in the original 1981 West End production, but snapped a tendon shortly before previews kicked off and had to drop out.

Tom Hooper's film will see the likes of Ian McKellen, James Corden, Jennifer Hudson and Taylor Swift playing members of the moggie mob, with filming starting soon and a 20 December 2019 release date on the books. As for Dench, she'll next show up in Red Joan (out on 19 April) and Artemis Fowl, on screens 9 August. And the first person to make a "neuteronomy" joke because of the gender switch will be ordered to subsist on a diet of Whiskas.

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