In the Andrew Lloyd Webber stage musical, Skimbleshanks is an older ginger tabby cat who considers himself very important within the tribe. His main role is to work on the mail trains traveling at nighttime, which he considers a vital contribution to the Jellicles and sings about in the song “Skimbleshanks the Railway Cat”.
McRae is the second Principal Dancer from The Royal Ballet after Francesca Hayward to join the film adaptation of the Lloyd Webber musical directed by Oscar winner Tom Hooper. Hayward, as Deadline previously reported, will play a new role, Victoria, the white kitten. McRae joins a cast that includes Taylor Swift, Jennifer Hudson, James Corden, Ian McKellan, Idris Elba (Macavity), Judi Dench (Deuteronomy) Laurie Davidson and Mette Towley. The cast is rehearsing at Leavesden Studios in Hertfordshire, UK making their way toward a Dec. 20, 2019 theatrical release.
An Australian native, McRae, joined The Royal Ballet School on a Prix de Lausanne scholarship in 2003. He graduated into The Royal Ballet in 2004 and was promoted to First Artist in 2005, Soloist in 2006, First Soloist in 2008 and Principal in 2009.
Hooper and Lee Hall (Billy Elliott, War Horse) adapted Cats for the screen. Hooper will also produce alongside Working Title’s Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner, as well as fellow Les Misérables producer Debra Hayward-who brought the idea to Working Title. Steven Spielberg, Lloyd Webber and Angela Morrison are EPs on the feature.