Exclusive: Ryan Murphy Gives Updates on ‘The Boys in the Band’ and ‘A Chorus Line’
“God I hope I get it” is not a song I imagine Ryan Murphy has to sing very often. The prolific filmmaker and storyteller tends to get his pick of the litter when it comes to projects. Lately, he’s been working on two new Broadway adaptations: The Boys in the Band, a drama about gay men in Manhattan reuniting, and A Chorus Line, the classic backstage musical of which the aforementioned song opens. While chatting with Collider’s Steve Weintraub about upcoming Netflix series Hollywood, Murphy gave us tantalizing updates on both.
Firstly, The Boys in the Band, which Murphy is producing as a Netflix film. The play, written by the late Mart Crowley, was originally adapted to the screen by William Friedkin in 1970, and this new take is directed by Murphy collaborator Joe Mantello with stars like Jim Parsons, Zachary Quinto, Matt Bomer, and Andrew Rannells — all regular Murphy collaborators themselves. This version is, in fact, an adaptation of a stage revival that Mantello directed and Murphy produced. Murphy gave us this update on the film version, currently in post-production:
It’s particularly bittersweet now that Mart Crowley has recently passed away. It was just a wonderful experience when we were doing it on stage. The director, Joe Mantello, is such a great director and our play version of it won a Tony for Best Revival. And what I loved about it, it was the first time that I can recall where all the parts that were gay were played by gay men and we were all friends with each other in real life. We all sort of came together and created this great tribute to that play. And I think Joe really directed the hell out of it and it felt very modern.
Then to be able to finish it and step away for a little bit, and then come back and film it, and make it even deeper and more cinematic, which it is, I think it’s really extraordinary. And we’re just finishing the edit of it now, and I think a trailer will probably come out sometime in late summer. And there are several, I think, award-worthy actors and parts in that movie. I think we’re going to give it an award season launch sometime in the fall, I think is the plan. We don’t have an exact date yet because the world is on fire. But if everything kind of settles down, I think that’s the idea that we would launch it in the early fall.
There you have it: The Boys in the Band will likely see a trailer in summer, and an awards-friendly release in the fall. Last year, Netflix saw tons of awards success with Marriage Story and The Irishman — I wouldn’t be surprised if they make a similar push with this film.
As for Murphy’s designs with A Chorus Line, originally adapted into a 1985 film by Richard Attenborough? He plans on turning it into a 10-episode miniseries — and he plans on improving upon the film version, especially for the sake of Michael Bennett, a choreographer and director who originally helmed the iconic stage version.
It was my favorite musical growing up. And I think the movie version, everybody kind of agrees that it was disappointing at best. And Michael Bennett, who’s always been somebody that I was obsessed with from a very early age, and the thing that I loved about Michael Bennett was he was able to be who he was, and was a fighter and scrappy and took no prisoners. And so this 10-part miniseries will be a tribute really to him and my love of him. And also, everybody involved in it.
I’ve just now putting the final touches on all the deal points, but I hope to be able to start writing it pretty soon because I’ve never had a piece of material where more actors have come up to me and said, “I really want to be in this. I really want to be in this.” I think there’s an excitement for that music that we all grew up with and I’m excited to hopefully be able to start doing it soon.
Beyond the excitement of the material, and the promise of incredible actors interested in playing in this world, Murphy also teased that he would “like to direct at least the first one, if not multiple episodes of it… I mean, I might direct all of them. I don’t know. I have to get the writers room up and running and figure out how to do it.”
For more from Steve’s interview with Ryan Murphy, here’s why he wanted to make Hollywood and championing minority voices, an update on American Crime Story: Impeachment, and an update on the Ewan McGregor-led Halston series.
Be sure to look out for more from our Hollywood interview with Murphy soon. In the meantime, check out that show’s first trailer.
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