World building is a full-time job for Greg Berlanti, the man who spearheaded the ever-expanding Arrow-verse on The CW. But he has some directing chops, too. His last feature film was in 2010 with Life As We Know It and he directed Sigourney Weaver in the pilot episode for USA’s Political Animals. He’s set to return to the director’s chair for a film about DC hero Booster Gold, but today brings word that he’s adding a cinematic revamp of Little Shop of Horrors to that list.
Deadline reports that Berlanti will helm the new movie musical based on a script by Matthew Robinson. Little Shop of Horrors originated on the stage as a musical from director Roger Corman, a script by Howard Ashman, and compositions from Alan Menken. It was famously adapted for the silver screen by Ashman for director Frank Oz in 1986 with a cast, including Rick Moranis, Vincent Gardenia, Steve Martin, Ellen Greene, and Bill Murray.
Berlanti’s film is described as “a fresh take” on the story, which tells of a man who raises a plant that turns out to be carnivorous. He then starts killing people in order to keep it alive, but it’s a musical, so there’s plenty of camp.
But before Little Shop of Horrors, the filmmaker will next helm an adaptation of the young-adult novel Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, with Nick Robinson (Jurassic World) in talks to star. The film tells of a closeted gay teen who’s blackmailed by the class clown when he discovers a revealing email. On top of that, he has a Booster Gold movie in development that’s said to be set outside the DC Extended Universe.
News of Little Shop of Horrors comes after the recent boom of musicals on the small screen. It began with The Sound of Music, broadcast live on NBC, which they followed with Peter Pan, The Wiz, and now Hairspray Live!, which will bow on December 7th. FOX followed suit with Grease: Live!, The Passion, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Now ABC is getting in on the game, after announcing earlier this year to be tapping Disney’s vast library for its own live musical television performance.
They’ve been less frequent on the big screen, but Disney has Marry Poppins Returns planned for next year, and Universal is readying Wicked for a movie in 2018. For those who don’t already live in a major city or don’t have any inclination to go back and watch the original Little Shop of Horrors, these adaptations help make musicals accessible to the general populace — which is why I say more power to Berlanti.