I heard somewhere this week – think it was radio at work – that there was talk of another “Grease”. My immediate thought was ‘God, ..why? Leave it alone!’ (I’m sure Olivia Newton-John is booked solid with John Farnham’s ‘retiring again’ tour to do a threequel anyway) before realizing it was a given. The film industry are a herd of sheep who follow each other around, what one does – and does successfully – the others will soon follow. With the critical and commercial success of the new musical “La La Land”, it’s not at all a surprise to hear that Hollywood’s resurrecting the movie musical. Expect plenty.
One of the more interesting ones coming down the pipeline is a musical starring old “Saturday Night Live” co-stars Will Ferrell and Kristen Wiig with “Hairspray” on Broadway duo Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman writing the score.
Ferrell is no stranger to such projects, having appeared in the movie version of “The Producers” a couple of years ago – but it’s very different for Wiig, who has been headlining more conventional comedies like “Bridesmaids” and “Ghostbusters”.
Marc Platt, who produced TV’s “Grease Live!” (god, what a shocker that was!), is producing the movie, an adaptation of the book “Everything Is Coming Up Profits: The Golden Age Of Industrial Musicals”. Hopefully he shortens that title for the movie poster.
The book tells of ‘’how corporate America employed Broadway talent to take part in industrial shows from the 1950s to the 1980s to help motivate sales forces and educate employees on products. Some of those musical shows were actually recorded for posterity and the subject matter lends itself to some great humor as some of these actors had to play inanimate objects (and would fight for those roles) or get overly excited about diesel engines, bathtubs or selling tires while they dreamed of being “somebody.”’’
The movie will go through the Amblin Entertainment offshoot of Universal Pictures – when it happens, at the movie it’s apparently just hit the negotiations phase.
While we’ve known for a while that there’s film adaptations of musicals like “Wicked”, “American Idiot” and “Little Shop of Horrors”, in development, I’m thinking we’re going to see the most unconventional of projects suddenly retooled into musicals. If “Star Wars : Rock the Galaxy” is playing in theaters this time next year, it’s all your fault Damien Chazelle.