Jason Derulo Thought Cats Would Change the World, and Honestly He’s Not Wrong

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Remember the halcyon days of 2019, before the pandemic, when the internet came together in joyous exuberance to make fun of Cats? The ill-fated adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s iconic musical boasted an Academy Award-winning director and an A-list cast of celebrities including Jennifer Hudson, Taylor Swift, Idris Elba, Judi Dench, Ian McKellen, and many more. After all, it makes sense that the world’s most successful musical would be poised to be a smash hit movie, right?

But from the moment the first trailer dropped, Cats became the pop culture joke we all knew it would be. What followed was an endless barrage of memes, butthole cuts, and unabashed delight at this truly bonkers movie.

The film remains a bonkers pop-culture entry, even to the people who starred in it. Jason Derulo, a man whose name I cannot write without singing it aloud, recently talked about his high hopes for the film. Derulo, a platinum recording artist and celebrity, played Rum Tum Tugger in Cats, his onscreen debut. In an interview with The Telegraph, he discusses taking the role saying,

“For the longest time, I was trying to figure out what’s the perfect first role, … ‘Cats’ checked all the boxes. You can’t get a more star-studded cast, you don’t get a more respected director than an Oscar winner, and Rum Tum Tugger is a legacy role, a standout character in a classic musical.”

Derulo added that he “got chills down my spine” when he watched the trailer, saying “I thought it was gonna change the world.”

Well … he’s not exactly wrong, is he? Maybe Cats wasn’t the game-changing movie event of 2019, but it was certainly an event nonetheless. And even though the film is a disaster, it’s become a pop culture moment on the level of The Room, Gigli, or Glitter.

Derulo added, “It didn’t pan out. With all things that leftfield, it could either be considered genius or bats–t crazy. That’s the risk you take.” Derulo himself did an admirable job in his first big-screen role. He delivered what was asked of him and threw himself whole-heartedly into his performance, and you have to admire that.

Many took to Twitter to comment on Derulo’s reaction:

(via The Telegraph, image: Universal Pictures)

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Chelsea Steiner
Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.