The upcoming Cats movie has a star-studded cast, but the lead cat is a very new face!
During an appearance on Thursday's Jimmy Kimmel Live, Royal Ballet principal dancer Francesca Hayward dished on what it was like to take a break from dancing in order to star in the film adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Weber's classic musical.
She's a dancer first, of course, so getting used to singing in front of people was quite the daunting task. As she explained to Jimmy Kimmel, "I sang at school a little bit, but this was completely out of my comfort zone. So, yeah, I just remember doing my first audition and being very terrified of singing in front of, like, one person. And then, obviously, just had to keep doing it with more help until I was just singing in front of a whole room of cast and crew and Andrew Lloyd Weber and Taylor Swift."
Yeah, she had to sing for an audience that consisted solely of the two music legends. And it was all for the new song Swift and Weber created for the film, "Beautiful Ghosts," which Hayward sings in the movie.
As it turns out, the first time she heard her solo was quite a magical experience.
"I think probably one of the most surreal days of my life so far," Hayward shared, "was when Taylor asked to meet me and she had written the lyrics for Andrew's music, and she called me into a room and she basically gave me a private concert of the song for the first time, just me, her and pianist and the director, Tom Hooper."
"She sang me the whole song, just to me, in a room," she added.
As for how the moment made her, a freshman to the acting/music world, feel, Hayward admitted, "It was really just surreal. And at the end of it, she said—very, very sweetly, she said to me—'Is that okay?' Like, she'd written it for me. 'Is that all right for you?' And I was like, 'Yeah, that's okay.'"
Now, put away your dancing shoes and watch the rest of Hayward's interview to hear about the cat behavior classes the entire cast had to take. Yes, even Judi Dench.