Why Bo Burnham is Perfect to Write New Songs for the ‘Sesame Street’ Movie

     June 11, 2019

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Before Bo Burnham wrote and directed Eighth Grade, he was primarily known as a stand-up comedian, one who was particularly adept at writing clever songs. That background should come in handy on his next gig, as he’s been tapped to write new songs for the upcoming Sesame Street movie starring Anne Hathaway. And frankly, I think he’s the perfect choice.

According to Deadline, which broke the news of Burnham’s involvement, the film will find Big Bird and his Sesame Street friends in Manhattan, having been mysteriously expelled from their own neighborhood. Hathaway will play Sally Hawthorne, the plucky host of a history-themed show, who’s on a mission to save her program and prove that Sesame Street actually exists. The male lead is expected to be a politician who has reasons of his own for keeping Sesame Street hidden from the world.

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Image via The Children’s Workshop

Jonathan Krisel is directing the film for Warner Bros. and MGM, and Barry Schwartz wrote the most recent draft of the script, though Chris Galletta and Mike Rosolio penned previous drafts. Shawn Levy, Michael Aguilar and Entertainment 360’s Guymon Casady are producing, while Mark Gordon will serve as an executive producer. Warner Bros. will release the Sesame Street movie on Jan. 15, 2021.

Burnham is kind of a perfect addition to the team of people bringing Sesame Street to the big screen. He started his comedy career as a teenager, making YouTube videos where he performed raunchy songs like “New Math” and “My Whole Family Thinks I’m Gay.” It wasn’t long before agencies came calling and he was invited to perform at the Montreal Comedy Festival, where he made a new fan in Judd Apatow, who subsequently cast him in Funny People and The Big Sick.

I was a big fan of Eighth Grade and think Burnham has a wonderfully authentic voice as a filmmaker. I appreciated the sensitivity with which he told Kayla’s story, and based on some of the lessons that film offers, I can see how Burnham would be a good fit to write new songs for this Sesame Street movie. Those characters mean a lot to people of all ages and I think their voices are in good hands with Burnham and his unique creativity. This arrangement reminds me of Lin-Manuel Miranda doing the music for Disney’s Moana, and I think it will be similarly successful.

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Image via A24

Elsewhere, Burnham wrote and is producing Amy York Rubin‘s untitled dramedy featuring rising stars Danielle Macdonald and Jaboukie Young-White as two teenage outcasts who turn the tables on their high school bullies. Revenge is also the theme of Emerald Fennell‘s thriller Promising Young Woman, in which Burnham will co-star opposite Carey Mulligan. Needless to say, it’s expected to be a very different, not to mention darker, role for him. He’s represented by UTA.

And finally, if I can use my movie wish for the week, I hope Burnham will encourage Krisel and the producers to find a role for his Eighth Grade star Elsie Fisher, because that would be a super ‘Gucci’ move. Fisher and Burnham’s in-studio interviews were among the highest of highlights at Collider Video last year, and we’re just itching for a reason to have them back together again.

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