Todd Graff, the writer and director of Bandslam, says his remake of the musical Damn Yankees won’t feature the Yankees but will feature steroids. Graff points out that the original 1955 story featured the now non-existent Washington Senators so he’s replacing them with the Chicago Cubs who haven’t won a pennant in 102 years. And we all know there’s only two ways people could see the Cubs winning the World Series: making a deal with Satan or steroids. Speaking to MTV, Graff says:
“If a character like Joe Hardy – who’s the character in ‘Damn Yankees’ – sprung out of nowhere and was hitting 70 home runs in a season, who would not think immediately ‘steroids’?” said writer/director Todd Graff, who has cast Jake Gyllenhaal in the Tab Hunter role of a baseball fan who sells his soul to become the greatest player. “So [steroids] is not even a side character for us; it’s our main character. No one is going to think, ‘Oh, it’s because he made a deal with the devil (played by Jim Carrey)!’ They’d think, ‘He’s juicing!’”
Graff is planning to keep only a few of the original songs and pen about five or six new ones, including one about steroids. Hit the jump for details on how Graff is also removing the choreography.
In the interview, Graff said his take on the musical is “Jerry Maguire with songs.” He’s also throwing out Bob Fosse’s choreography:
“I think it’d be a mistake [to keep that],” Graff said. “They did that in ‘Chicago,’ so it’s been done. His stuff was brilliant, his sensibility was very hard-edged and cynical, and I think what we’re going for is more of a muscular, athletic, youthful, sexy movie. We’re going to be less brittle, less razzle-dazzly and aim to knock your socks off with the athleticism.”
Graff claims that “there is no writer/director out there that knows more about musicals and more about baseball and hates the Yankees as much as I do,” but he seems more interested in highlighting the baseball than the musical. Also, if he really hated the Yankees, why wouldn’t he make a movie that said their championships were because of the devil and steroids?