Greg Berlanti has carved out an impressive niche for himself in as the brains behind the so-called “Arrowverse” of DC Comics TV series, currently turning out big ratings for The CW and a generally positive reception. But if fans were expecting him to remain in the superhero genre, they’re now in for a surprise. Berlanti will instead make his feature directing debut with a remake of the horror-musical, Little Shop of Horrors.
The 1986 Little Shop of Horrors movie was an adaptation of a long-running off-Broadway production that puts a rock-musical twist on the premise of an infamous ’60s B-movie from director Roger Corman. In the story, a milquetoast florist shop employee named Seymour Krelborn becomes a celebrity for growing a bizarre undiscovered plant that rapidly grows to giant-size. Unknown to the rest of the world, the plant is actually a sentient alien being that eats human flesh to live – and while Seymour only intends for evil people and/or who’ve wronged him (or his loved ones) to be eaten, the plant has other plans.
Deadline is reporting that Berlanti has signed on to direct a remake of the 1986 Little Shop of Horrors movie – itself, directed by Frank Oz and starring Rick Moranis, as well as Ellen Greene. Matthew Robinson (The Invention of Lying) is writing the screenplay for what is being described as simply a “fresh take” on Little Shop of Horrors. It is not yet clear whether that means the film will include new and/or rearranged musical numbers (which were a major component of the 1986 movie).
Bill Murray and Steve Martin also appeared in minor roles in the 1986 Little Shop of Horrors movie, with R&B legend Levi Stubbs memorably providing the voice of the monster plant, Audrey II. The plant itself was a famously elaborate full-sized mechanical puppet that required 60 operators at its largest scale (one ton in weight) and a unique filming process, wherein human actors had to move and deliver their lines in slow-motion in order to “match” the puppet’s movements and dialogue being artificially sped-up in post-production. It is unknown whether the new film will feature a similar practical Audrey II, or opt for CGI instead.
The original play was conceived by musician Alan Menken and writer Howard Ashman, whose songs and script were re-used for the film. However, while the original dark ending of the play (where the plant eventually wins and an army of monster plants begin an all-out global assault on humanity) was shot, the expensive sequence was originally scrapped by the studio and replaced with a happy ending, after test audiences reacted negatively. Considered famously “lost” for decades, the footage was restored for a 2012 DVD release.
We’ll keep you updated on The Little Shop of Horrors as more information becomes available.