Hugh Jackman is an amazing performer, and he deserves a movie musical worthy of his talents. I get a little more disappointed every time I think about Les Miserables, but a more exciting opportunity may have arrived with The Greatest Showman on Earth. We last reported on the film back in October 2013 when Bill Condon came on to rewrite the script, which centers on legendary showman and swindler P.T. Barnum (Jackman) and his infatuation with opera singer Jenny Lind a.k.a “The Swedish Nightingale.”
The film is now moving closer to shooting, and there’s just one big oddity about the whole thing: The Greatest Showman on Earth isn’t based on anything. It’s not an adaptation of a stage musical. It’s an original, and we haven’t gotten an original live-action movie musical in a very long time. That could be about to change. Hit the jump for more.
According to Deadline, Fox is planning to start budgeting and making deals with talent so they can begin shooting in the summer. If this all comes together, it will be the first original live-action movie musical since 1992’s Newsies.
Fox has been flying this one under the radar, but Deadline says they’re still using the script by Condon, and commercial director Michael Gracie is still attached to direct. Deadline adds that the original songs are by Justin Paul & Benz Pasek (who were Tony-nominated for The Christmas Story), Bonnie McKee, Jake Shear, and Brian Lapin.
Original musicals, whether they’re on Broadway or on screen, are depressingly scarce, so I hope that Jackman, Gracie, Condon, and the rest of the talent behind this movie can hit it out of the park. Musicals shouldn’t be trapped into the confines of family films or stage adaptations of hit movies and rock-pop catalogs. That’s not to say I’m against adaptations (a Book of Mormon movie could be amazing), but it’s encouraging to see Fox back an unknown musical and see if audiences will embrace it.
And if people don’t show up, Fox can just slap “X-Men” on the title.