Taylor Swift is bringing her songwriting skills to the big screen!
In addition to starring as Bombalurina in the upcoming remake of Cats, the singer, 29, had the opportunity to collaborate with Andrew Lloyd Webber on an original song for the film, written specifically for Francesca Hayward’s character, Victoria.
Swift and Weber discussed the process behind writing their new song “Beautiful Ghosts” in a featurette that was released by Universal Pictures on Thursday, which began with a clip recorded by the singer in the car on her way to the studio.
“We’re actually gonna be recording a song that Andrew Lloyd Webber and I wrote together,” Swift excitedly revealed in the short clip before footage of the pair working together was shown.
Webber, 71, explained that he felt the original song needed to be included in the remake after his first read-through of the script.
“When I first read the screenplay — and the film is seen through Victoria’s eyes — the first thing I said was, ‘We have to have a song for Victoria. It’s an incredibly important central part of the whole film,'” the legendary musical creator recalled.
“There was an ambition and aspiration to have an original song in the movie,” Swift added. “Just very much this understanding of, ‘Let’s write the best song we can.'”
Almost immediately after playing the song’s melody for Swift, Webber said the singer began to rattle out lyrics that director Tom Hooper praised for their “extraordinary beauty” and “profound understanding of what we’re trying to do with the movie.”
“I played it to you and I said, ‘This is a new song,’ and you said, ‘I’ll do the lyric[s]’ and you did it then and there,” Webber recalled of his interaction with Swift at the time.
“When you started playing the music, it was just this beautiful, haunting melody,” added Swift, who also sang the studio recording of the original track.
The “Lover” songstress also explained that much of her inspiration came from T.S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, which the text of the original musical was based on.
“T.S. Eliot is such a specific type of writer and uses such specific language and imagery, so reading through his work and everything, I just really wanted to reflect that within,” Swift explained.
“You can’t write a modern lyric for Cats, so if you can’t get T.S. Eliot, get T.S.,” she jokingly added, referencing her initials. “I’m here for you!”
Later on Thursday, Swift shared the featurette on Instagram and promoted the upcoming film and her costars.
“I was so excited when @andrewlloydwebber asked me to write an original song with him for @catsmovie,” she captioned the clip. “‘Beautiful Ghosts’ is performed in the film by the extraordinary @frankiegoestohayward who plays ‘Victoria’ and reprised by Dame Judi Dench (!!!!!) who plays ‘Old Deuteronomy’ 😺 Coming soon!”
In a clip released Friday, Swift appeared on New Music Daily with Zane Lowe Apple Music’s Beats 1 and revealed how she originally became involved — and her first meeting with Webber.
“I had heard these rumblings and rumors like, ‘They want a song. Andrew’s going to write an original song for Victoria, the lead cat.’ And I was just like, ‘Aw man, I want to get in on that. I so badly want to get in on that.’ But I didn’t want to, you know — I was like, ‘I can’t crash this.’ So I was just like, ‘Oh man, I really wish that I could write that with him, but whatever.’ It turns out when I meet him, he’s the best. He’s got more cats than I have. He’s obsessed with them.”
She added, “He has the best gossip I have ever heard. You’ve not heard gossip until you’ve heard his quality gossip. Elton’s exactly like that. They’re the best. They’re just the best. And you’ll never repeat it. Like, locked box. They know you won’t repeat it, so they can tell you anything. So basically we’re just bros immediately.”
The featurette comes close to two months after the last trailer of the movie was released.
In the behind-the-scenes video from September, the film’s biggest stars, including James Corden, Idris Elba, Jason Derulo, Jennifer Hudson and Swift showed off how they purr-fected the remake of the classic musical.
“If you told me I was going to get be a cat for work…what?” said Swift as footage showed her working on her feline moves as one of the Jellicle Cats.
“You’re gonna take a load of people, and they’re gonna pretend to be cats,” Corden, 41, noted. “If you just say it out loud it’s bonkers. But that’s where the most fun happens really.”
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The video continued to show off the intense choreography, filled with flips, ballet as well as hip hop styles and creative cat costumes while the actors go on speaking about their creative processes.
“I’m trying to find a balance between learning new steps and new genres,” said Derulo, 29, who plays Rum Tum Tugger.
Hudson, 37, who plays the iconic “Memory” singer Grizabella, explained, “Artistically, we feed off of each other.”
“Put those things together and I believe that you have magic,” Derulo closed out the clip.
Cats debuts in theaters on Dec. 20.