'Cats' star Judy Dench says she loved acting in a role that is traditionally male: 'I call it trans-Deuteronomy'

'Cats' star Judy Dench says she loved acting in a role that is traditionally male: 'I call it trans-Deuteronomy'
Dame Judi Dench attends the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2019 press day at Chelsea Flower Show on May 20, 2019, in London, England (Getty Images)

'Cats' has not had the most positive response from viewers or critics, and yet, Dame Judy Dench is very happy with the project and her role in it.

The 85-year-old Hollywood veteran portrays a cat called Old Deuteronomy who happens to be the leader of a tribe of cats called Jellicles.

Interestingly, this role is generally portrayed by a man, and Old Deuteronomy chooses one cat to ascend to the Heaviside Layer to be reborn into a new life. 

While speaking with Out Magazine, Dench revealed that she felt "glorious" to have been included in the movie. The actress who was at a London press junket to promote the movie told Out Magazine that she found the experience to be nerve-wracking.

"All I can hear is Brian Blessed all the time in the production that I wasn't able to be in," she added, referring to the actor who played Old Deuteronomy in the 1981 West End production of the musical, where Dench had been cast as the cat Grizabella.



She also added that getting cast in the traditionally male role was "totally unexpected" for her. "I kind of call it 'trans-Deuteronomy' is the part for me, you know.  Do the cats of 'Cats' have access to hormones? And when exactly did Old Deuteronomy transition?"

Dench also went on to add that "it was lovely to be led about and be an aged cat; very nice indeed."

While Tom Hooper's $100 million adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber's cult classic musical bombed at the box office, with a return of a mere $6.5 million in ticket sales its first weekend, we are happy that Dench's interpretation of her character has given more visibility to the trans community in the musical.

In addition to Dench, the film stars prolific singers such as Taylor Swift, Jason Derulo, Idris Elba, James Corden and Rebel Wilson.


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