Tristar Pictures has tapped Oscar winner Bill Condon to direct its new Guys and Dolls movie, for which the studio has high hopes given Hollywood’s current obsession with musicals between In the Heights and the upcoming West Side Story as well as Dear Evan Hansen.
Condon certainly comes with a musical pedigree, as not only did he direct Dreamgirls and Disney‘s live-action Beauty and the Beast movie, which grossed more than $1 billion worldwide, but he also co-wrote Hugh Jackman‘s recent hit The Greatest Showman and 2002’s Chicago, the latter of which won the Oscar for Best Picture.
A remake of Guys and Dolls was once in development at 20th Century Fox, where Channing Tatum and Joseph Gordon-Levitt were once poised to play the roles popularized by Marlon Brando and Frank Sinatra in the hit 1955 film. Eventually, the studio’s rights lapsed and TriStar swooped in to purchase the rights package, which included the remake rights to the 1955 movie and the rights to the Broadway musical with its book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows and its music by Frank Loesser, as well as the original Damon Runyon short stories about gangsters and gamblers that serve as the basis for the story of Guys and Dolls.
Deadline broke the news of Condon‘s hiring, reporting that the director had been weighing several projects around town before sparking to TriStar‘s enthusiasm for Guys and Dolls, which the studio aims to get off the ground quickly. John Goldwyn and Marc Toberoff are producing the new film, which TriStar executives Nicole Brown and Shary Shirazi will oversee on behalf of the studio.
Guys and Dolls premiered on Broadway in 1950 and won the Tony Award for Best Musical. There have been several Broadway and London revivals over the years, including a 1992 revival, starring Nathan Lane that was nominated for seven Tony Awards, winning three. It’s the kind of macho musical that young male audiences may feel more comfortable embracing, and Condon is a smart hire, even though I sure would love to see a female filmmaker (who isn’t Julie Taymor) tackle one of these big studio musicals. That issue aside, I look forward to seeing who Condon casts in the lead roles — especially the female leads played by Jean Simmons and Vivian Blaine in the 1955 film.