"The musical is back!" may be true (I can reel of at least five due for release soon off the top of my head), but, generally, it is more "The musical based on a stage show is back!" or "The musical that is a remake of musical from 50 years ago is back!" Original musicals are still quite rare, which is why this news is both surprising and exciting.
Twentieth Century Fox has attached Hugh Jackman to play American showman P.T. Barnum in "The Greatest Showman on Earth," an original contemporary musical to be scripted by Jenny Bicks
Pic will have a contemporary musical score, and the studio is in talks with British singer-songwriter Mika to write music and lyrics.
The musical follows the old Hollywood tradition in which tuners were scripted with specific actors in mind. The (Jenny) Lind role is being scripted for Anne Hathaway, who teamed with Jackman in his opening Oscars number.
Hugh and Anne, of course, collaborated during the opening number of the Academy Awards earlier this year and they worked a treat. I'm not sure if an entire film of that will work - their is a substantial age difference, no? - but I'll definitely anticipate finding out.
The choice of Mika to write the score is an odd one, although I definitely think his new song "We Are Golden" is very theatrical and if he's allowed to bring that to The Greatest Showman on Earth then that could actually work. Shockingly. Currently I'm imagining The Music Man mixed with "We Are Golden" and the monorail episode of The Simpsons as sung by Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway. Strange.
Of course, Jackman has a staggering ten projects in development - including another musical, Carousel - and Showman doesn't even have a screenplay yet so it won't be until at least 2012-13 that it will see the light of day, unless they really want to capitalise on the musical popularity of the moment. Until then I'm sure this will become another movie that I become scarily attached to and will feel the need to talk about its every development.