Jason Derulo on how he trained for ‘Cats’ — and why he’s ‘super single’

Before filming the movie version of the Tony-winning musical “Cats,” out Dec. 20, pop star Jason Derulo was strictly a dog person.

“I’ve always been a dog person. I got two dogs,” says the 30-year-old singer behind hits such as “Whatcha Say,” “Talk Dirty” and “Wiggle.”

“Learning the ins and outs of a feline, how complex they are, definitely made me more of a cat person. They have so much personality. One second, they wanna be your friend and they wanna be petted. And then the next second, they’re like, ‘Get off me. Like, what are you doing?’

They’re wishy-washy. So I’m still a dog guy.”

This cool cat breaks out his acting claws in the film adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical alongside Judi Dench, Idris Elba, Ian McKellen and Rebel Wilson, as well as fellow music artists Taylor Swift and Jennifer Hudson.

To get in touch with his inner feline, he and the rest of the cast attended something called cat school.

“It was a crazy experience, man,” says Derulo. “At cat school, you learn about their mannerisms, what they do and why they do it. And you kinda have to pull from those things to develop your character, develop your cat. We’d all be [crawling] on the floor trying to find the cat within. The ‘cat teacher,’ if you will, was on set for every shot. Any time she noticed something or had an idea, she would come forth with it.”

Getting in and out of his cat costume as Rum Tum Tugger wasn’t as tricky as it looks, thanks to the wonders of computer-generated imagery.

“It was about an hour putting on the green suit, and then you have to put on the sound equipment and get the dots on your face,” he says. “The finished product is not a costume that we had on. That’s CGI.”

But there was one big sacrifice: “I had to shave my beard, man — and I’m a beard guy. Without my beard, I felt like a kid! You can’t have a beard, because it kind of messes with the [movement] trackers.”

It’s the first film role for Derulo — who attended the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York.

“I receive scripts all the time, but I was waiting on the right role, the right movie, because it’s easy to be considered a musician that just goes to acting because he can, as opposed to actually being a talented actor. I wanted to choose a role that would be a part of a legacy, a role that should be remembered in some way.”

He was able to call upon his killer dance skills to move like a cat.

“Movement, in general, I think will help in any film, but especially this one, because you have to embody something, and I don’t think anybody will do that better than dancers. I hope when people watch the film, they’ll understand how incredible dancers are in general.”

Growing up in Miami, Derulo learned at an early age that he had moves like Jackson — as in Michael. “I started dancing when I started singing, being a Michael Jackson kid, practicing all his moves and singing all his songs,” the artist says. “ ‘Smooth Criminal’ and ‘Bad’ were my two favorite [videos] that I would replay over and over and over again, trying to do the dance moves. You’d see me in my kitchen with my socks on, trying to do the moonwalk.”

And his dream dance partner is another Jackson — Janet — for whom he recently opened while on tour in Australia. “She is just incredible and still so quick,” he says of the 53-year-old pop diva. “She’s definitely someone that I’d wanna dance with.”

FOR ALEXA - Jason Derulo. Photos by Caitlin Cronenberg.FOR ALEXA - Jason Derulo. Photos by Caitlin Cronenberg.FOR ALEXA - Jason Derulo. Photos by Caitlin Cronenberg.

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