Entertainment & Arts

Miaow! Royal Ballet star Francesca Hayward joins Cats movie

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Media captionFrom the Royal Ballet to Cats: Francesca Hayward

One of the rising stars of the Royal Ballet, Francesca Hayward, has been cast in the live action film version of the hit musical Cats.

She joins previously announced cast members including Dame Judi Dench, Sir Ian McKellen and Taylor Swift.

Hayward confirmed her casting on social media, saying how "excited" she was to be joining the cast.

She'll play a kitten called Victoria and will also perform a new song.

The song has been specially written for the movie by Cats composer Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Image copyright Bill Cooper
Image caption Francesca Hayward is one of the principal ballerinas at the Royal Ballet

The film is being directed by Oscar-winning director Tom Hooper, whose previous films include The King's Speech and Les Miserables.

Idris Elba will play Macavity in the film, with Jennifer Hudson as Grizabella.

James Corden will also star in the movie, which is being executive produced by Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber and Steven Spielberg.

Cats first opened in the West End in 1981, directed by Trevor Nunn.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Sir Trevor Nunn directed Cats again when it returned to the London Palladium in 2015

Francesca Hayward joined the Royal Ballet company in 2010 after graduating from the Royal Ballet School. She was promoted to principal in 2016.

Her roles have included Clara in The Nutcracker and Alice in Alice in Wonderland.

Cats is one of the world's most successful stage musicals. It ran for 21 years in London's West End and for 18 years on Broadway.

The story is based on TS Eliot's Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats. It's believed that this cinema version will combine live action elements and computer generated imagery.

The film is due to be released in 2019.

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