Over a dozen West End and Broadway shows are heading to the movies over the coming years – and here’s what to look forward to.
You may have noticed, but we’re in the midst of a musical revival on the big screen. It’s a revival that’s seeing long-running shows repurposed for the big screen, as well as newer productions. This list, then, is the ones that we reckon are active. There are projects still out there in development – Tom Hanks’ company has an option on Beautiful, for instance – but if nothing’s been heard for a long time, we’ve kept them off the list for now. We will update if anything chances.
For now, the next few years are set to see a fair few stage musicals coming to the big screen. Feast your eyes on this lot – and we’ve included release dates where we have them…
Jake Gyllenhaal has picked up the rights to the award-winning musical Fun Home, with a view to turning it into a film. It’s about cartoonist Alison Bechdel, based on her autobiography, telling the story of her sexuality, and dealing with the suicide of her father.
Gyllenhaal is set to play said father in the movie, that he’ll also produce. No word yet on timescales, further casting or who’s directing.
COME FROM AWAY
The award-winning musical set in the week following the attacks of September 11th was penned by Irene Sankoff and David Hein. Back in 2017, it was revealed that the movie rights had been picked up by The Mark Gordon Company, with its original creatives writing the screenplay. Christopher Ashley is set to direct the film, although of late he’s been taking Working Girl from screen to stage. It feels just a little in limbo, this one, but we’ll keep you posted.
A filmed version of the all-conquering stage show Hamilton is heading into cinemas in October 2021. It’s debut on October 15th, before then heading to the Disney+ streaming service. It’ll feature the original Broadway cast of the show, and will be a live capture of the stage musical. Lin-Manuel Miranda leads the cast.
Following the path set by Hairspray, Mean Girls of course started out as a movie. Then it became a Broadway musical. And now the Broadway musical is turning into a movie. Tina Fey will be writing and producing the film, with the musical’s composer Jeff Richmond also on board. Paramount Pictures is backing the project. Separately, the Broadway show will be heading to the West End of London over the coming year. No casting details for the new movie have thus far been announced.
EVERYBODY’S TALKING ABOUT JAMIE
Now in post-production, the hit British musical Everybody’s Talking About Jamie has attracted a cast for its screen adaptation that includes Max Garwood, Sharon Horgan, Sarah Lancashire and Richard E Grant. Tom MacRae, who co-wrote the musical, has penned the screenplay, with Jonathan Butterell directing.
On Chesil Beach director Dominic Cooke is to bring Stephen Sondheim’s classic musical Follies to the screen. He already directed an acclaimed stage revival of the show back in 2017, and the new film comes with the backing of Heyday Films and BBC Films. It’s still early stages for the production, and thus casting news is on the non-existent side. But look for this one to shoot at some point in 2020.
Back at the start of 2019, it was revealed that Gypsy may finally be making its way to the big screen. Amy Sherman-Palladino was said to be in talks to direct, although little in public has moved on that we can tell since this Deadline report. Still, it’s a project that’s been bubbling along for a while, and this may yet be its moment.
IN THE HEIGHTS
Lin-Manuel Miranda’s first musical is getting the big screen treatment, with Crazy Rich Asians director Jon M Chu at the helm. Anthony Ramos and Melissa Berrera lead the cast, working from a screenplay by Quiara Alegria Hudes. Warner Bros has thus one scheduled for the summer of 2020 (early August in the UK).
And here’s the first trailer…
JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT
STX is backing a new animated take on Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s hit musical Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, that was first announced in 2017. Elton John and David Furnish’s Rocket Pictures is also involved in the production, and work is ongoing. No release date has thus far been announced, though.
Tim Minchin, Dennis Kelly and Matthew Warchus’ triumphant staging of Roald Dahl’s Matilda has become a huge and much-loved musical. I spoke to Warchus back in 2014 about the possibility of it becoming a film, and he declared back then that was his intention. However, he also noted that a film of the musical couldn’t be released until 2019 at the latest, presumably down to rights restrictions.
However, good news: the project is finally set to film in 2020, with production set for the summer. The creative team behind the stage show are steering this one of to the screen, and a 2021 cinema release is looking likely.
A remake for this is on the cards over at Disney, with Hamilton director Thomas Kail making the jump to the big screen. Danny Strong has been hired to pen the script for the movie, that has Ice Cube producing. Whether this ends up as a theatrical release or for Disney+ remains to be seen.
A musical that debuted on stage in 2016, The Prom was written by Chad Begielin and Bon Martin, with Matthew Sklar doing the music, and Beguelin also penning the lyrics. It follows a quartet of Broadway performers on their way to a conservative US town, to support a lesbian student banned from taking her girlfriend to the high school prom.
Netflix is funding the movie version of the musical, with Ryan Murphy directing a classy cast. In the ensemble are Meryl Streep, James Corden, Nicole Kidman and Andrew Rannells. Awkwafina has signed up too, and the film version is due next year.
Announced back in May 2018, a film take on the Monty Python musical Spamalot remains in development. Eric Idle is on screenplay duties for the film, that Casey Nicholaw is set to direct. At one stage, Benedict Cumberbatch was high on the casting list, but news on the project has been on the quiet side. It’s still believed to be in development, and we’ll update as we get more news.
The Andrew Lloyd Webber musical of the classic film is becoming a movie in its own right. Sunset Boulevard will see Glenn Close reprising the role she played on stage, with Rob Ashford making his feature directorial debut with the movie. Paramount Pictures is backing this one, and it sounds like it’s going to be moving forward sooner rather than later too. It’s been a project long-discussed before finally getting its green light.
TICK, TICK… BOOM!
More work from Lin-Manuel Miranda. The hugely talented man will be adding another string to his bow when he makes his feature directorial debut. He’s tackling the late Jonathan Larson’s musical. Larson, who also put Rent together, put together the show to reflect his own life story, of a man gambling on a move to New York to try and make it as a composer. The film was announced in the summer of 2018, and Netflix is backing the production.
WEST SIDE STORY
Whether you class it as a remake of the original film version or a new take on the musical by Arthur Laurents, Stephen Sondheim and Leonard Bernstein, the new West Side Story is a huge 2020 release. Steven Spielberg has directed the movie, and is now in post-production on it too. Tony Kushner penned the script, and look for the film to be one of the big hits of next Christmas.
It’s a wrap on WEST SIDE STORY. To mark the end of production, Steven wanted to share a few thoughts and images with you.
— Amblin (@amblin) October 2, 2019
It’s been bumping around in development for some time, but the screen version of Wicked, the (untold) story of the witches of Oz, has been inked in for a December 2021 release. Stephen Daldry (Billy Elliot) is set to direct the film, with Winnie Holzman working on the screenplay. At least two new songs are expected to be added to the show for its big screen debut.
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