The actor appeared on “The Late Show” Monday to promote his new blockbuster, “Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw,” and was asked by host Stephen Colbert to sum up the story of his upcoming film, “Cats.” The 46-year-old actor plays the villainous Macavity in the Tom Hooper-directed movie based on Andrew Lloyd Webber’s famous musical — which was itself inspired by T.S. Eliot’s “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats,” a collection of poetry, about, well, kitties.
Elba seemed pretty perplexed by the question.
“Ah, wow,” the actor said. “What a way to throw me under the bus there!”
But after some thought, Elba gave it his best shot:
“It’s a classic. It’s a big musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber. I guess it’s about a cat? How am I doing?”
“It’s one cat’s journey towards what is essentially cat heaven,” Elba continued. “The idea is we all ... you know, we aspire to get towards cat heaven. It’s this young cat ... and she gets sort of ... you know ... taken on this story about how to get to cat heaven. Or what you should do to get into cat heaven. How am I doing? Does anyone know what the story is?”
It was a pretty purr-fect response considering the plot of the musical can feel like it was written by a feline on catnip. But for future interviews in which Elba will be asked to explain the loose and confusing story of this popular play, we suggest that he keeps this tweet handy: