Idris Elba tries to explain the plot of ‘Cats’ and has no clue


Idris Elba is the baddie in the new Hobbs and Shaw film. He looks like he’s having the time of his life in that role, too. Since he’s doing promo work for that film, I’m sure the producers of Cats were all, “Hey, Dris – can I call you Dris? Oh, okay – Mr. Elba, since you’re out on the talk show circuit anyway, maybe could you do a little advance work on Cats?” Because if your film looks like an acid dream with scarecrow versions of ballet dancing cats wearing the coats of those they’ve vanquished, the best possible strategy is to lead with Idris Elba. And that’s exactly what he did, or tried to do, on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Stephen, who has never seen Cats, asked Idris to explain the plot. And Idris clearly wanted to, but he has no idea what it’s about, other than Cat Heaven:

If you have to wait to watch it, here’s the plot bit:

Now, I’ve never seen Cats. Can you tell me, or explain to me, what the plot of Cats is?
Ah wow. What a way to throw me under the bus. No, it’s a classic. It’s a big musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber. I guess it’s about a cat? How am I doing? How am I doing? And it’s one cat’s journey towards what is essentially Cat Heaven. The idea is we all, you know, we aspire to get towards Cat Heaven. It’s this young cat and she gets sort of, you know, taken on this story about how to get to Cat Heaven. Or what you should do to get into Cat Heaven. How am I doing? Does anyone know what the story is?

. [From YouTube via Jezebel]

As I write this story, I am strumming my fingers on my 1982 version of Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, written by T.S. Eliot and illustrated by Edward Gorey. Page 33, which is my favorite poem (Mr. Mistoffelees), is bookmarked by my 1985 ticket for Cats from the Winter Garden Theater. Playing the background is my Original London Cast CD of the soundtrack. Do I need the plot of Cats explained to me? No. Do I understand the plot of Cats? Not a bit. Although I’ll be honest, I could watch Idris try to explain it on loop for hours on end. His explanation is as close as I would get, that the cats are looking to become one of the storied Jellicle Cats, who stage an annual (?) event (a ball) in which one cat is redeemed, given Jellicle status and ascends to… somewhere else, presumably a higher plane. Honestly, it’s like a feline retelling of Logan’s Run. For me, Cats was just such a spectacle, with all those human sized (and featured) cats prancing down the aisle and across the bannisters in the audience. I fell in love with the music, not to mention Rum Tum Tugger was impossibly sexy even to teenage me. I don’t think I ever got the plot of the musical, but it never seemed to matter until I had to explain it to my kids (when asked “when did Taylor Swift become a Furry?”) I don’t know if I’ll watch the movie. The trailer really freaked me out – a few of the cast do not translate well into CGI human-cats. But I’m not ruling it out because I expect a spectacle from Cats and it looks like I might get that. We’ll see. But the dancing looks good and Mistoffolees as a Pearly King is inspired. Plus, sexy-ass Idris/Macavity lurking in the background – who knows, maybe it’ll be enough for me to finally understand what the hell I’m watching.

There are many reasons to watch the interview above, but if I had to rank them, watching Idris Elba teach Stephen Colbert how to cat is probably number one on my lust (that’s a typo but I’m keeping it).




Photo credit: YouTube and WENN Photos

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22 Responses to “Idris Elba tries to explain the plot of ‘Cats’ and has no clue”

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  1. Seraphina says:

    He’s just WOW. what a man. And he makes that three piece suit look damn good. Ok, sorry. I know the article was about some cat……

  2. TeamAwesome says:

    I’ve also seen CATS, and I’ve never really thought that there WAS a plot, lol. You got as close as anyone.

    • Becks1 says:

      Yeah, I thought it was always just more about the spectacle and the music.

      • Carol says:

        IIRC, ALW at the time said the play was a celebration of the modern dance movement that had taken Britain by storm in the 80’s. He found the TS Eliot poems and thought they could be incorporated into music. There is essentially no plot, just a reason to move onstage.

  3. Mia4s says:

    Oh bless him. I salute his wanting to branch out and be versatile, but the Cats press tour is going to be a hell of a thing. 😂

  4. virginfangirls says:

    I felt embarrassed for him, but all in all, considering, he handled it well. And looked damn good doing it, so there’s that.

  5. elimaeby says:

    No one has ever accused Idris of being a Rhodes scholar, least of all Idris himself, but he is the epitome of charm. I would watch that man read a phone book.

  6. Lightpurple says:

    That first picture kills me every single time.

  7. Michael says:

    They should.make Taylor Swift do the press for Cats. I am sure her role is larger than his. Based on the initial trailer the movie will be a disaster so I hope Idris does not let them hang it around his neck

  8. duchess of hazard says:

    “when did Taylor Swift become a Furry?”)

    This made me laugh. I watched the muscial, and that was enough, I think. Although Francesa Hayworth is really lovely to watch. If I see it, it’s for her and Idris alone.

  9. Marianne says:

    Thats because there is no real plot to Cats. Basically each song is just an introduction to a new cat, and then at the end Grizabella is taken to the Heavyside layer….which is basically cat heaven.

    • shirurusu says:

      Please stop it with the spoilers of which one of the cats it is, I’ve seen the musical already but some people haven’t.

  10. incognito08 says:

    Whew Chile, he is a nice, dark, tall drink of a man! *fans myself*

    I think this movie is going to be a spectacle of a hot mess. I will likely check it out because of my huge crush on Idris. *shrugs*

  11. Candykat says:

    The explanation of CATS on the episode of “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” when Titus unexpectedly becomes a cast member is … pretty much the only explanation I believe.

  12. PlainJane says:

    Blah blah blah cats blah …

    It doesn’t matter what he talks about, he can still come over and pound my yams day, night, weekends, anytime … really.

    yam pounding reference, just in case;

    • bitchyarchitect says:

      thank you so much for this link- really bummed that didn’t know about it in time to donate…

  13. Tiff says:

    “Because if your film looks like an acid dream with scarecrow versions of ballet dancing cats wearing the coats of those they’ve vanquished, the best possible strategy is to lead with Idris Elba. “ This might be the best sentence I’ve ever read.

  14. terra says:

    “Feline retelling of Logan’s Run,” is as close as I’ve ever heard it described, so cheers, Hecate!

  15. holly hobby says:

    I think I saw a still of Rebel Wilson made up as a cat and she scared the hell out of me. So no, the awfully weird costumes are enough to make me skip it.