Once upon a time, in a land called 2004, Disney set out to create a musical comedy simply titled Bob the Musical. The film would follow Bob, an average Joe who suffered a blow to the head and started hearing constant music and singing everywhere he went. As that would sound like utter hell to you or me, so it would too for our poor, dear Bob, who is now forced to hear the “inner songs of everyone’s heart” at all times; Bob’s life is now a musical.
The ambitious project became a work of passion for the studio, with multiple writers, composers and directors all hoping on to the film and detaching themselves from Bob at some point or another over the last 10 years when development never seemed to push further that pre-production — including Adam Shankman and the 21 Jump Street duo Chris Miller and Phil Lord.
But despite this decade-long struggle to see one man’s reluctant relationship with the music playing in his mind — and his apparently very serious cranial injury — Disney is still adamant about moving forward with the film. They’re bringing in the big guns to revamp the project and get it to the finish line. Allan Loeb, the writer behind Rock of Ages, has been tapped to work on the latest version of the script. If you were one of the many probably cringing after reading the name of that musical, fear not — Bob‘s music and lyrics will be taken care of by Frozen‘s Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez.
In addition to winning over children and anyone with heart through the animated musical, Robert is the co-creator of wildly popular Broadway musicals Avenue Q and The Book of Mormon, and the duo also wrote songs together for Winnie the Pooh and Finding Nemo: The Musical, a show put on in the Disney parks. It’s clear that no matter the script, Bob‘s music will be in capable, creative hands. And yes, Rock of Ages was abysmal, but Loeb’s wide range of writing credits, which include Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, The Switch, The Dilemma, Just Go With It, Things We Lost in the Fire and Here Comes the Boom, means he has more than enough fodder under his belt to tackle the potentially whimsical, definitely odd, maybe uplifting(?) story of a man with a busted brain stuck in in song.
The premise of Bob the Musical isn’t unfamiliar territory if you’ve been watching primetime TV anytime in the last 10 years, and for that reason, it’s really unfortunate that Disney waited so long to get the ball rolling. One of Scrubs most famous episodes, entitled “My Musical,” revolved around a patient who, you guessed it, heard everyone around her singing; she was apparently suffering from an aneurysm in her temporal lobe, but that seems a bit heavy for Disney. This episode aired back in 2007 and was actually co-written by Robert Lopez.
Grey’s Anatomy ran the truly unfortunate “Song Beneath the Song” in 2011, in which Dr. Callie Torres is dying on the operating table with neurological damage and hallucinates having an out-of-body experience in the OR where everyone is singing, herself included, while trying to save her life. It’s a sad musical, y’all.
No word on potential casting or release dates — Bob the Musical is still a bit longer than a song and dance away.