Two musicals that I find myself uncharacteristically rooting for have gotten their production schedules back on track recently.
The first is the film adaptationÂ of the 2008 Broadway smash In the Heights. Variety reports that Universal Pictures is pushing forward with the project by hiring writer Marc Klein to pen the film version. Klein’s screenwriting resume is not particularly impressive including previous semi-flops Serendipity (2001) and A Good Year (2006), and he recently sold his romantic comedy TMI to be produced by the same studio. Heights will represent a slight departure from Klein’s typical canon, but it could be for the best.
Kenny Ortega of Newsies and High School Musical fame will be directing In the Heights. Those of you who have heard Lin Manuel Miranda’s excellent score for ITH know that Ortega’s eccentric and optimistic style will suit the musical just fine. Typically I do not throw my support behind a film adaptation of musicals I’ve come to know and love, but as long as Klein stays true to the inspiring story I can’t see how this film will fail.
The other project making news is Craig Brewer’s reboot of the definitive cheesy movie musical Footloose. According to Variety, Chace Crawford has had to drop out of the project due to scheduling conflicts with CW’s “Gossip Girl,” so there is a new lead spot to fill. However, that hasn’t stalled the film’s pre-production as Paramount Pictures reports that casting will begin immediately to fill in the empty roles.
There is a good chance that Footloose Redux will be a disaster. In order to avoid this Brewer and the production staff need to be sure to stick to the tone of the original Footloose. In other words don’t try to attempt anything remotely artistic and stick to straight camp. Judging from previous efforts by Brewer (Black Snake Moan, Hustle & Flow) this shouldn’t be a problem.
Both films are set to start shooting in the fall and aiming for a 2011 release date.