It’s not often that word of a large-scale adaptation of an existing theatrical property thrills me to my absolute core, but I am willing to forget all the weird Les Miserables Starring Country Pop Star Taylor Swift talk if this next project works out as well as it should. Word about a cinematic adaptation of the Tony and Grammy-winning hit musical Jersey Boys (originally produced by Dodger Theatricals, written by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, directed by Des McAnuff, with music by Four Seasons member Bob Gaudio and lyrics by Bob Crewe) has been brewing for awhile, and it’s such a welcome concept for a film that I might actually be dancing in my chair right now. The musical centers on the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, and their incredible rise to fame in the 1960s, and it’s one of those rare musicals that deserves all the heaping and glittery praise it has received. Dancing in the aisles? Check. Smiling from ear to ear? Drama laced in with a great story and fantastic music? Check, check, check!
In case it’s not yet readily apparent, I love this musical. It’s my favorite musical. The way people feel about Les Miz? That’s how I feel about Jersey Boys. So the news that two-time Academy Award-nominated screenwriter John Logan has been picked to adapt the film has excited me so much that I’ve very nearly passed out six times while writing this.
Logan has been writing for the big screen since 1996, and his resume is rounded out with such titles as Any Given Sunday, Gladiator, and The Aviator, but he’s also got some theatrical endeavors under his belt – like Tim Burton’s adaptation of Sweeney Todd and his own play, the multiple Tony Award-winning Red. But Logan is perhaps best well-known for his recent works – including Rango, Hugo, the upcoming Bond flick Skyfall, and Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln. He’s also currently working on the Just Kids adaptation with its author, Patti Smith. An award-winning playwright and screenwriter on a hot streak that has a proven track record of crafting adaptations? Oh, Hollywood, thrill me like this every day.
But what’s most exciting about a Jersey Boys film is not just that big fans like me will get to see it as often as they want, but that the story is accessible to people who aren’t even fans of Valli or the Four Seasons (yet). I guarantee you that you know more Seasons songs than you know, and I also guarantee you that Jersey Boys will instill an unexpected love for them upon immediate consumption.
GK Films’ Graham King and Tim Headington are producing, with Frankie Valli and Bob Gaudio serving as executive producers.
[Press Release, with additional information from Thompson on Hollywood]