When it came to writing a new song for the film version of his musical Cats, Andrew Lloyd Webber found the purrfect partner.
For Grammy award-winning pop star Taylor Swift was already in the cast.
The American singer offered to write the lyrics and they created the song Beautiful Ghosts, which is performed by ballet star Francesca Hayward, who takes the central role of white puss Victoria.
Andrew Lloyd Webber and Taylor Swift have teamed up to write a new song for the blockbuster film adaptation of his musical Cats
Miss Swift, 29, plays the flirtatious Bombalurina in the star-studded film – which, like the stage version, is based on the poems of T S Eliot.
The movie, set to be a Christmas smash, is directed by Tom Hooper, whose credits include the musical version of Les Miserables as well as The Danish Girl and The King’s Speech.
Lloyd Webber told the Daily Mail that Miss Swift will perform another version of Beautiful Ghosts over the film’s end credits.
He revealed that Judi Dench, who plays wise Old Deuteronomy, will also be heard singing Miss Swift’s lyrics, which were inspired by Eliot’s verse.
‘After Judi sings Memory, she does a 30-second reprise of Beautiful Ghosts,’ Lloyd Webber said.
However, he emphasised that the main singers of the new number are Miss Swift and Miss Hayward, 27, a principal dancer with the Royal Ballet.
The 71-year-old impresario told the Mail that when he read the movie script he saw Hooper had reinterpreted it quite considerably from his original 1981 stage version, based on Eliot’s 1939 work Old Possum’s Book Of Practical Cats.
Judi Dench, who plays Old Deuteronomy (left) in the film adaptation, will also be heard singing the new lyrics but the main singers will be Taylor Swift and Francesca Hayward (right)
‘I said to Tom that I really do passionately believe we need a new song – Victoria’s so central to the film that we absolutely had to have a song for her,’ Lloyd Webber said.
‘I wrote an idea melodically.’ He discussed this with Miss Swift.
‘She asked if she could write the lyrics. She looked at the script – she’d obviously read a bit of Eliot,’ he said.
‘Tom Hooper saw what she’d written and said bullseye! Or rather cat’s eye. And that was it.’
He and Miss Swift worked on the song at his London residence and at the family estate in Sydmonton, Hampshire.
‘Once we got started, it got written pretty quickly,’ he said.
‘Victoria sings the song to Grizabella, telling her that she has had wonderful moments and glamour in her life “but I have had nothing”.’
Lloyd Webber said he worked with Dame Judi, Miss Swift and Miss Hayward on their interpretations of Beautiful Ghosts but stressed it was very much about how Hooper wanted them to sound.
Taylor Swift, 29, plays the flirtatious Bombalurina in the star-studded film and worked on the song with Lloyd Webber at his London residence and at a family estate in Sydmonton, Hampshire
Although the composer had approval over the music, two music producers – Greg Wells, who worked on The Greatest Showman, and Chic star Nile Rodgers – were also involved with the score.
‘I thought it best to let the music be thought through again, by other people,’ Lloyd Webber said. He acknowledged that tastes had changed since he wrote the original score.
‘I really thought that for me to arrange the music for the whole thing, and pretend I was 30 again, was silly,’ he said.
Other stars in the film include Jennifer Hudson, Idris Elba, Ian McKellen, James Corden, Ray Winstone, Rebel Wilson and Jason Derulo.
Lloyd Webber has not seen the completed movie, which is in post-production ‘more or less hand-painting the fur on to the actors, using computers’ – the pictures on this page are promotional images.
The world premiere of Cats will be in New York on December 16.
A gala in London will follow before the picture goes on general UK release on December 20.