News, Culture & Society

Cats film slammed for the CGI ‘whitewashing’ of black lead Francesca Hayward in first trailer

The Cats trailer has received more online criticism for the CGI ‘whitewashing’ of its black female lead in the live-action film.

Francesca Hayward, 27, who plays the main character in the adaptation is seen pirouetting and frolicking with a white face of fur in the clip released on Thursday. 

Fans believe Hayward’s feline form should have been portrayed using fur to match her natural skin tone.

Despite the character being named ‘Victoria the White’ in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s original musical, some believe they could have easily changed the ‘arbitrary point.’ 

‘So how come you can clearly see this is taylor swift/the entire bottom half of her face is visible, but you wouldn’t know the black lead was black unless you knew her already,’ one critic tweeted.

‘She’s BLACK?!’ one user wrote, to which another replied, ‘Wow. You cannot tell. That’s deliberate and terrible.’  

‘Just don’t don’t whitewash people. Even if they’re playing cats…’ another posted.

Francesca Hayward plays lead character ‘Victoria the White’ in the new live-action adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical ‘Cats’

Online users have critiqued the CGI portrayal of the Hayward's character (above) as 'whitewashing' the film's British lead, who was born in Kenya

Online users have critiqued the CGI portrayal of the Hayward’s character (above) as ‘whitewashing’ the film’s British lead, who was born in Kenya

Clips from the trailer show Hayward's character Victoria with white fur and grey markings

Some have criticized as 'white-washing' the black actress and ballerina

Clips from the trailer show Hayward’s character Victoria with white fur and grey markings, which some have criticized as ‘whitewashing’ the black actress and ballerina

One Twitter user countered: ‘It’s hard for me to understand claims of whitewashing when you can really clearly see that’s not the case here. Why whitewash exactly one person on the cast and nobody else?

‘If Victoria wasn’t a white cat and they made her white then I’d understand completely!’

Another was more frustrated by the debate: ‘Are there actually f****** smooth brains who think cats is whitewashing. Holy s*** this generations Jesus Christ.’

Hayward, who was the principal ballerina for the British Royal Ballet, moved from Nairobi, Kenya, to England at the age of two.

This is her first appearance on the silver screen alongside a star-studded cast including Jennifer Hudson, Taylor Swift, Idris Elba, Jason Derulo and Dame Judi Dench.

Fans of the ballerina have also called-out the film for the ‘introducing Francesca Hayward’ text in the trailer, stating that she is already accomplished and well known.

‘Every #ballet fan watching the #CatsMovie trailer: What do you mean, ‘introducing’ Francesca Hayward?’ tweeted Carly Chalmers.

Outside of the ballet world Hayward was also known for collaborating with active wear brand Lululemon last year.

Others have taken offence that the film 'introduced' Hayward, who users say was already established in the world of ballet and was principal ballerina at the British Royal Ballet

Others have taken offence that the film ‘introduced’ Hayward, who users say was already established in the world of ballet and was principal ballerina at the British Royal Ballet 

One user thought the portrayal of Hayward's character was an attempt to 'white-wash' the lead

One user thought the portrayal of Hayward’s character was an attempt to ‘white-wash’ the lead

Another agreed with her over the appearance of the character portrayed by Hayward

Another agreed with her over the appearance of the character portrayed by Hayward

Since the trailer’s release the claws have truly been out, with viewers mocking the CGI creations for numerous reasons.

Some have dubbed cat representations ‘more terrifying than IT’ referring to the character Pennywise in the horror flick that also released a trailerr for its sequel ‘IT Chapter Two’ this week. 

‘Just watched the CATS trailer… how do i unwatch the CATS trailer,’ one person tweeted.

‘Show my wife the Cats trailer and she said “this is the final straw” and left the house,’ another commented.

Other users took a liking to the CGI cats, with one writing: ‘List that CATS trailer is bonkers… and we need more bonkers… I regret to inform you, I dug it.’ 

The claws are out: social media users have critiqued the feline forms shown in the Cats trailer

The claws are out: social media users have critiqued the feline forms shown in the Cats trailer

Some have called the movie trailer 'more terrifying than IT' and others feel the interpretation of the cats is perfectly appropriate

Some have called the movie trailer ‘more terrifying than IT’ and others feel the interpretation of the cats is perfectly appropriate

Another Twitter user thought the CGI cats were too creepy

Another Twitter user thought the CGI cats were too creepy

One shot from the trailer lead to a more unusual theory from one user, Eleanor Mason, claiming a Soviet conspiracy.

‘The real take home from cats is the taylor swift communist conspiracy theory (CATS = Communist Ahoy: Taylor Swift),’ she wrote.    

Writer-editor Noah Harald joked, ‘Show us the anthropomorphic cat buttholes you cowards. #CatsMovie,’ referring to the tail seemingly coming directly out of it’s hind end, not above it. 

Others commented that as soon as a ‘Cats’ inspired app must soon be launched and that ‘we’re all gonna get it and we’re all gonna be cats.’

‘CATS is our punishment for Snapchat filters,’ wrote Cosmopolitan TV editor Emily Tannenbaum. 

The film which is due to be released in December, will also feature James Corden, Rebel Wilson and others. 

One more bizarre post online suggested that one scene from movie contained a Soviet symbol

One more bizarre post online suggested that one scene from movie contained a Soviet symbol

Another user was pretty shocked by the appearance of the CGI cats

Another user was pretty shocked by the appearance of the CGI cats

One referenced how social media users' protest led to the CGI in the movie Sonic being changed

One referenced how social media users’ protest led to the CGI in the movie Sonic being changed

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk