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Casting: Swift and McKellen join Cats; new meat for The Walking Dead

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Jan 23, 2019, 2:02 PM EST (Updated)

The casting announcements come fast and furious during San Diego Comic-Con, and news of new cast members for The Walking Dead and Jordan Peele's next genre-subverting movie seem par for the course, but we're not sure anyone was expecting the names attached to a planned adaptation of the musical Cats.

Let's start with the weirdest one. Tom Hooper, director of 2012's Les Misérables, has announced the first cast members for his adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber's blockbuster musical Cats, based on T.S Eliot's collection of poems, Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Taylor Swift, Jennifer Hudson, James Corden and Ian McKellen will all play furry felines in the movie musical, which tells the tale of a tribe of cats who must choose one among them to be reborn to a new life. The first Broadway version of the musical had the fourth longest run in history, from 1982 to 2000. Hudson and Corden have both previously starred in movie musical adaptations; Hudson in 2006's Dreamgirls, and Corden in 2014's Into The Woods.

Jennifer Hudson is expected to play Grizabella, who gets the song's best known number, "Memory." McKellen seems a safe bet to play either Gus or Old Deuteronomy, and Corden could easily play Rum Tum Tugger, Bustopher Jones, or Skimbleshanks. Lloyd Webber is reportedly writing a new song for the character Victoria, a white kitten, which will surely be eligible for an Academy Award, so if Taylor Swift is looking to nab an Oscar, expect her to land that role.


Two actors with upcoming DC debuts have joined the cast of director Jordan Peele's Get Out follow-up, Us. Deadline reports that Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, who plays Black Manta in James Wan's Aquaman, and Anna Diop, who plays Starfire in the DC Universe streaming service series Titans, have both joined the mysterious horror thriller in unnamed roles.

The movie's impressive cast already includes two Marvel veterans, Lupita Nyong'o and Winston Duke, who starred in Black Panther, as well as The Handmaid's Tale's Elisabeth Moss and comedian Tim Heidecker.

Us is written and directed by Peele, and produced by Peele's Monkeypaw Productions, and the director is keeping a tight lid on details about the film. He previously released an engimatic poster for the movie, which promised "a new nightmare" and offered a release date of March 2019.

We reported yesterday that Dan Fogler, who plays sidekick Jacob Kowalski in the Fantastic Beasts movies, has joined the cast of long-shambling zombie show The Walking Dead's upcoming ninth season. Now the Hollywood Reporter informs us that Into The Badlands' Eleanor Matsuura has also joined the cast.

Fogler's role in the show has not been revealed, but Matsuura is playing a character known to readers of Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard's comic series. Matsura will play Yumiko, part of a group of survivors in Washington D.C. that also includes Connie, a deaf woman played in the new season by Broadway actor Lauren Ridloff.

Set after a time jump from Season 8, The Walking Dead Season 9 will be the first for new showrunner Angela Kang, and the last to star Andrew Lincoln as Rick and Lauren Cohan as Maggie. Kang has described Season 9 as a new era, in which the survivors of the zombie apocalypse finally set about trying to rebuild civilization without relying on the technology of the recent past.

Click here for SYFY WIRE’s full coverage of SDCC 2018, including up-to-the-minute news, exclusive interviews, and videos.