Francesca Hayward Talks Pushing Herself Outdoors of Her Consolation Zone For *Cats*

Francesca Hayward Talks Pushing Herself Outside of Her Comfort Zone For *Cats*

It doesn’t matter what your preliminary response was to the announcement that Hollywood was making a Cats film primarily based on the stage musical, it’s positive to be a part of many cultural discussions main as much as awards season.

Legends of all stripes—from Taylor Swift and Jennifer Hudson to Judi Dench and Ian McKellen—are within the forged, however it’s newcomer Francesca Hayward who will probably catch your consideration. In Cats, the 27-year-old principal dancer of London’s Royal Ballet makes her movie debut as Victoria the White Cat.

Hayward, who estimates she noticed her first ballet at age two and took her top notch at age three, had been obsessive about each Cats and cats (she grew up with 5 of them) since she was about seven. “I’d by no means seen it dwell, unusually, however I had a video of it {that a} household good friend lent to me and I used to look at it time and again,” she defined over the telephone, only a day after the star-studded world premiere of the film. “I’d dance round to it,” Hayward mentioned. “And I at all times select to be Victoria.”

The younger performer was drawn to Victoria as a result of “she’s actually essentially the most elegant cat,” she mentioned. “She’s at all times a ballerina within the stage manufacturing. I gravitated in the direction of that facet of it and I cherished the environment when she does her iconic solo,” Hayward went on. “I simply can’t consider that I’ve the possibility to carry her to life much more. I really feel privileged.”

When she first auditioned for the function, she thought Tom Hooper’s imaginative and prescient of the character could be extra according to the stage manufacturing, during which Victoria is a lithe ballerina who doesn’t sing. Nonetheless, when Hayward signed on, she realized simply how a lot singing she could be doing—and that her repertoire would come with a track written by Swift. “It was already fairly overwhelming, after which to be advised I had a track created for me by Taylor Swift, I couldn’t consider it,” Hayward mentioned. “Taylor sang the track for me, that’s once I heard it the primary time. That was a surreal day. I needed to pinch myself,” she continued, earlier than praising Swift for making her really feel “snug” and “supported” on set.

Hayward took a depart of absence from the Royal Ballet to movie Cats, however the classes she discovered from the expertise will stay along with her endlessly. “The most important distinction is unquestionably that I’m so used to doing a dwell efficiency and solely getting an opportunity to do one thing as soon as. Telling the story from begin to end, that adrenaline fuels me and retains me going,” she defined. “That was an enormous distinction on set, but in addition an awesome factor as a result of I received to discover and have that freedom, and it made me dig into my character a bit deeper as a result of I’d have to inform the story damaged up in a unique order. It made me go additional into the character in order that it could make sense in my head, as a result of we weren’t filming chronologically.”

Working with stage and display screen icons Dench and McKellen was understandably a spotlight of the entire expertise for Hayward. “It was wonderful watching them of their aspect, doing what they do finest, every one in every of them,” she defined. “Watching Judi on the display screen and the way in which she switches when the digital camera is on. There’s one thing magic about her. Everybody was simply grateful to be doing their half.”

And as for that “digital fur know-how” that set the Web ablaze with assume items and memes, Hayward admitted that it was a little bit of a shock at first. “I cherished it,” she exclaimed. “Clearly it took me just a few seconds to course of. It’s not a traditional daily factor to see your self with fur, however I cherished it,” she went on, impressed with the artistic selections made when bringing the musical to the display screen. “I feel we spent so lengthy imagining ourselves as cats on set, to see the arduous work throughout filming and see what the digital workforce created for us in a means that our tails turned a part of our characters and reacted together with us and was a part of the choreography, it was actually cool.”

She and the forged are nicely conscious of the web response to the way in which the cats from Cats look, however they are not taking something significantly and actually, they have been sharing memes concerning the film of their WhatsApp group, based on Hayward. “Nobody’s been taking the criticism personally, we’ve been discovering the humor in every thing,” she mentioned. “Particularly when there’s one of many forged in a meme, we share it and have a great giggle with one another.”

Associated: Second Cats Trailer: Sadly, We have Accepted That These Cats Will Look Like That

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