For 81 years, P.T. Barnum lived to entertain. Now, thanks to Columbia Pictures, Barnum will continue to entertain audiences more than 100 years after his death. As reported by Variety, Columbia recently purchased an untitled pitch for a Barnum biopic from screenwriter Stan Chervin. Chervin was recently attached to the currently defunct baseball film, Moneyball.
Mr. Phineas Taylor Barnum holds a special place in the American psyche. The prototypical showman, P.T. Barnum brought the “Wonders of the World” to the United States at a time when most Americans knew nothing of what laid beyond their own towns. Granted, many of his exhibits were hoaxes, but that did little to take away from the majesty and mystique of the “Greatest Show on Earth.”
According to the report, the film will focus on P.T. Barnum’s “early years.” I’m not entirely sure what that means, but a quick perusal of P.T. Barnum’s Wikipedia page shows countless possibilities for a movie. For instance, did you know that in addition to being one of the country’s richest and most successful showmen, Barnum also served as mayor of Bridgeport, Connecticut for a year? Or how about this: Did you know Barnum was fiercely anti-slavery and a vocal supporter of the Thirteenth Amendment? Heck, I’d watch a movie that just explored the relationship between Barnum and General Tom Thumb.
What do you think? Does a P.T. Barnum biopic sound good to you? Any thoughts on potential casting? For some reason, when I look at that picture of Barnum, I keep picturing Jim Broadbent.