I kinda figured that, with its teenage-centric plot, West Side Story would be the first classic Broadway musical to get the remake treatment. But it looks like South Pacific will beat it to the punch. Ileen Maisel (The Golden Compass) and Bob Balaban (Gosford Park) will adapt James Michener’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel Tales of the South Pacific with the help of the Rodgers & Hammerstein songs from the 1947 stage hit. The show spawned 1958’s top-grossing film, and is currently in the midst of a Tony-winning Broadway revival. Hit the jump for details on the producers’ approach to the material.
Balban informed Variety:
“Our movie will be a tougher, more realistic retelling of the same classic story of two very different people whose love for each other transcends their enormous cultural differences. We think there’s a whole new audience just waiting to fall in love with its magical score, epic romance and exotic locale.”
I don’t know that “tougher” or “realistic” are words you necessarily want to use for a medium whose primary allure is escapism. But South Pacific is a classic, immensely successful at pretty much every stage of life over the last half-century. I imagine this iteration won’t be any different.
But seriously, I wake up each day a little more surprised that nobody has announced a West Side Story remake yet.
Here’s a synopsis of Michener’s novel:
Enter the exotic world of the South Pacific, meet the men and women caught up in the drama of a big war. The young Marine who falls madly in love with a beautiful Tonkinese girl. Nurse Nellie and her French planter, Emile De Becque. The soldiers, sailors, and nurses playing at war and waiting for love in a tropic paradise.
I’ll leave you with a bouncy number from the 1958 film, “Happy Talk.”