Idris Elba, star of Cats, doesn’t know what Cats is about either

There may be no musical as divisive as Cats. Intensely beloved or fervently reviled, the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical and upcoming star-studded movie have become more known for their infamy than for their actual plot. Despite being the one-time longest-running musical on Broadway, Cats continues to raise one major question: What is it actually about?

It was a question Stephen Colbert recently posed to guest Idris Elba, who plays the villainous Macavity in the upcoming movie, during his recent appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

Elba, who was promoting Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, joked that because he began filming Cats right after wrapping the action movie, costars Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Jason Statham teased him about it on set. (Though, with their high drama, use of intense choreography, and absurd premises, we’d say Cats and the Fast & Furious franchise have a lot in common.)

Things took a turn, however, when Colbert, revealing he had never seen the musical, asked Elba what it was about. And with the confidence of someone who definitely didn’t do the reading, the reigning Sexiest Man Alive attempted to explain.

"Oh wow. What a way to throw me under the bus there. It's a classic. It's a big musical. Andrew Lloyd Webber. I guess it's about a cat. How am I doing?"

In an attempt to save his answer, he continued, “It’s one cat’s journey toward what is essentially cat heaven. And the idea is that we all aspire to get [to] cat heaven. There’s this young cat and she gets sort of taken on this story of how to get to cat heaven and what you should do to get into cat heaven. How am I doing? Does anyone know what the story is?”

Luckily, Elba proved better at showing Colbert exactly how the cast got into character by showcasing his best cat moves.

For those who aren’t familiar with the musical, like Elba, Cats is based on the T.S. Eliot poetry book Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats. It follows a Jellicle, or collective, of cats who come together for a “Jellicle Ball” to decide which cat will ascend to the Heaviside Layer and be reborn into a new life.

The upcoming film also stars James Corden, Taylor Swift, Rebel Wilson, Jason Derulo, Jennifer Hudson, Ian McKellen, and Judi Dench. Will you be hitting theaters to see it on December 20th?

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