Brow Beat

Samantha Bee’s Cats Audition Proves She’s a Jellicle at Heart

The trailer for Tom Hooper’s upcoming Cats movie has attracted a broad variety of emotional responses. For Full Frontal host Samantha Bee, the emotional response was surprise—surprise that she wasn’t in it. With Idris Elba, Judi Dench, Taylor Swift, Jennifer Hudson, and the rest of the star-studded cast, you’d think that director Tom Hooper would have been able to think up a role for Bee, who, judging from her audition tape, was born to play a singing, dancing cat-person. “What would I bring to the role?” Bee asks. “Authenticity.” None of that “digital fur” here: Bee goes full Method, licking herself on camera in a homemade cat costume.

Certainly Bee has the musical-theater chops to be in Cats. Not only did she study at the George Brown Theatre School in Toronto, she also performed in a live Sailor Moon-related show that was no doubt a smash hit in the Canadian children’s regional theater circuit. What makes the Jellicle snub even worse is that Hooper thought to cast Bee’s exceedingly peppy late-night rival, James Corden. Surely Bee has just as much of a right to prance across the screen as the Carpool Karaoke guy.

But Bee’s unhappiness about not being cast undermines her claim that she truly understands the “language of a cat.” While her commitment to feline impersonation is admirable, if there’s anything we have learned since the release of the Cats trailer, it’s that no one cares less about Cats than actual cats.