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Tom Hooper Crafting Film Adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber's CATS; Movie Eyes 2017-18 Start

Andrew Lloyd Webber's classic musical CATS, based on the poetry of T.S. Eliot, is one tiptoe closer to the big screen.

The Daily Mail writes that LES MISERABLES helmer Tom Hooper, who was in talks to direct an adaptation for Universal Studios and Working Title, is officially developing the project, with production aimed for a 2017 or 2018 start.

Hooper's big screen adaptation of LES MISERABLES was a box office smash and went on to win three Oscars and was nominated for five others, including Best Picture.

The director is currently deciding whether CATS should be made using CGI, live action, or a combination of the two, akin to Disney's current JUNGLE BOOK remake.

An executive for the project told the Mail: "Do you somehow use actors, sophisticated puppets, CGI -- or what? That's the point of the exercise. We hope to be able to answer all of those questions, following a long period of research."

Rumor is Hooper wants to cast Suki Waterhouse in the film, though no official announcement has been made.

As BWW recently announced, Cats will be making its return to Broadway this summer at the Neil Simon Theatre, with preview performances beginning July 14, and an official opening set for August 2, 2016. CATS was also recently staged at the London Palladium for a limited 12-week run, starring former Pussycat Doll singer Nicole Scherzinger in the role of 'Grizabella'.

Composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber and based on T.S. Eliot's "Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats," the original Broadway production opened in 1982 at Broadway's Winter Garden Theatre, where it ran for 7,485 performances and 18 years. Cats was originally produced on Broadway by Cameron Mackintosh, The Really Useful Company Limited, David Geffen, and The Shubert Organization.

Since its world premiere, Cats has been presented in over 30 countries, has been translated into 15 languages, and has been seen by more than 73 million people worldwide. Originally directed by Trevor Nunn with choreography and associate direction by Gillian Lynne, scenic and costume design by John Napier, lighting design by David Hersey, and sound design by Martin Levan, Cats opened in the West End in 1981. The same creative team brought the musical to Broadway in 1982 where it won seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical. Both the original London and Broadway cast recordings won GRAMMY AWARDS for Best Cast Album. Cats hit song "Memory" has been recorded by over 150 artists from Barbra Streisand and Johnny Mathis to Liberace and Barry Manilow.

The Tony Award-winning Best Musical held the title of longest-running musical in Broadway history until it was surpassed in 2006 by Lloyd Webber's THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA. The original Broadway production closed on September 10, 2000 and is currently the fourth longest-running show in Broadway history.

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