The leading kitty in the new live-action “Cats” film is played by a black woman — but you wouldn’t know it by looking at her fur.
The film’s trailer dropped Thursday and received a horrified reaction from viewers, who complained that the human-cat hybrid CGI is nightmarish — and outraged tweeters are claiming it “white-washes” star Francesca Hayward’s face.
Hayward, 27, is a relative unknown among a star-studded cast including Jennifer Hudson, Taylor Swift, Idris Elba, Jason Derulo and Judi Dench.
A former principal ballerina for the British Royal Ballet with no previous silver screen credits, Hayward was born in Nairobi, Kenya, before moving to England at age 2.
“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,” tweeted one critic.
]”she’s BLACK?!” responded another user.
Hayward’s character, Victoria, is a white kitten in the original Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, but many are complaining that this is arbitrary, and could have easily been changed.
In the ballet world, people are also incensed for a different reason: Hayward is being billed as a newcomer.
“Every #ballet fan watching the #CatsMovie trailer: What do you mean, ‘introducing’ Francesca Hayward?” tweeted Carly Chalmers.
In addition to being a renowned ballerina, Hayward collaborated with active wear brand Lululemon on a limited-edition collection last year.
“Cats” is coming to theaters December 20.