There is no doubt about it: musicals are hot right now. This weekend marks the wide release of the highly anticipated new Coen Brothers movie Hail, Ceasar! which is packed with retro singing and dancing nostalgia. The revolutionary new musical Hamilton is busy taking Broadway by storm and over on television the hip hop soap opera Empire is still performing for FOX; The Get Down continues to generate buzz for Netflix; the musical comedy Crazy Ex Girlfriend just took home a Golden Globe; and there is even a strong case for a musical superhero crossover.
Now is already a fantastic time to be a musical theater fan, and things are about to get even better as more musically-inclined projects are fast tracked into production. Now new reports have surfaced indicating that two Hollywood stars (and heartthrobs) will be teaming up together for the second time to create an original musical comedy for Universal Studios.
According to THR, Joseph Gordon-Levitt (The Night Before, Looper) and Channing Tatum (Magic Mike XXL, The Hateful Eight) have signed on to a new original project, which is currently untitled. Marc Platt, who is perhaps best known for adapting Wicked for the stage, will producing the film alongside Gordon-Levitt and Tatum. Michael Bacall will be penning the script, having already worked with both Gordon-Levitt and Tatum on Manic and the Jump Street movies, respectively. Nothing is known about the plot except that Gordon-Levitt and Tatum will play pilots and the film will follow their (R-rated) exploits.
Tatum has been dancing on screen since 2006's Step Up, and makes his singing debut in Hail, Ceasar!. Gordon-Levitt has long been known for his singing and dancing chops, both of which were on display in (500) Days of Summer. They have been friends since filming the war drama Stop-Loss in 2008. The pair have long been rumored to be working on some sort of musical, both being well known for the dancing skills. After their performance during the 85th Academy Awards, many thought that they were slated to star as Sky Masterson and Nathan Detroit in a Guys and Dolls remake. However despite early fan interest and both actors publicly expressing support for the idea, nothing was ever developed.
While their hypothetical musical reboot would have probably been charming, the production of an entirely new film is an even better idea to showcase the two actors' diverse skills. Musical updates run the risk of falling flat, like director Tom Hooper’s vocally impressive, if also dull, Les Misérables, or struggling with thematic juxtapositions - like, arguably, the recent Into the Woods. Creating an entirely new experience not only eliminates comparisons to the classic version, it allows the production to be tailored to the big screen, and not the stage. With the talent involved both in front of and behind the camera though, it's difficult to image this film as anything but a huge hit.
Stay tuned for more on this as-yet untitled project as is develops.