"I guess it's about a cat," he tells Stephen Colbert.
If you’re still trying to figure out what "Cats" is about, don’t ask its star Idris Elba, because he doesn’t know either.
While hanging at "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" on Monday, Colbert put him in the hot seat by posing the question we’ve all been asking since the trailer dropped: “What is 'Cats' about?”
Stumbling for an answer, Elba jokingly responded, "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," he explained.
Joking aside, Elba was able to elaborate on his loose understanding of the story, "It's one cat's journey towards what is essentially cat heaven, and that idea is that we all aspire to get toward cat heaven. There's this young cat and she gets taken on this story on how to get to cat heaven or what you should do to get into cat heaven."
He then turned to the audience for reassurance that his explanation was, at best, satisfactory. "How am I doing? Does anyone know what this story is?" he jokingly asked.
While his abbreviated understanding might make theater snobs scoff behind their playbills, it was enough for the audience and Colbert, who praised Elba for giving, "the best explanation of the plot of 'Cats' I have ever heard."
Regardless of his somewhat murky synopsis, Elba embraced his character Macavity during filming, even attending cat school by request of director Tom Hopper, in preparation to slink around like a four legged fur ball.
"[He] wanted the actors to really embody the feline persona, the vibe," he revealed. "So he instructed this lovely lady, her name was Sarah, I think, and she was a cat expert. In fact, not only was she a cat expert but she was also an expert on how humans should play cats. She really spoke to us about the anatomy of a cat. We had to understand the bones, the structure, how the hips and everything work. So then what you realize is it's all about the shoulders."
Initial public reaction to the trailer, with the full feature set to hit theaters December 20th, has been a mixed bag of emotions. Glee, disdain, and more than a little confusion as to what it's actually about. While the star-studded cast, including Elba, Taylor Swift, Jennifer Hudson, Ian McKellan, and James Corden was enough for some to take pause and just be excited to see so many A-listers thrown together, there has been a collective head scratching about what to expect, aside from watching so many famous faces run around on screen singing in fur and face paint.