Danny Strong

Guys and Dolls

Because Hollywood can’t resist a little bit of that razzmatazz, Guys and Dolls is getting another run at the silver screen courtesy of Lee Daniels’ The Butler and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay scribe Danny Strong. After two and a half years of negotiations, the musical is finally moving forward with the blessings (and relinquished rights) of Jo Loesser, the widow of songwriter Frank Loesser. The original 1955 film looked back on the gangsters and gamblers of the 1920′s and 1930′s in New York City. As Nathan Detroit, Frank Sinatra attempts to open a floating craps game but struggles to find the funding. He sees the perfect opportunity to make some surefire cash when he runs into an old pal, a serial gambler named Sky Masterson (Marlon Brando). Detroit bets Masterson that he can’t get the wholesome Sarah Brown to go to dinner with him down in Havana — a challenge Masterson can’t resist. Both men are embroiled in their own shady dealings when they find themselves also falling in love with their respective lady loves; Masterson with Sarah Brown and Detroit with his long-suffering fianceé Adelaide.

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Danny Strong

According to Variety, Danny Strong has been hired to write the script for the final Hunger Games entry, Mockingjay. The film, based on the last book of the trilogy, will be split into two parts which will both be written by Strong once he finds a place to put down his Emmys. His hiring is an interesting move, although a bit unsurprising considering the political metaphor that hangs noticeably off the franchise. Strong wrote both Recount – the HBO movie that chronicled the 2000 election mess in Florida – and Game Change – the HBO movie that chronicled Sarah Palin’s political rise as the VP choice in the 2008 election. He also wrote the forthcoming The Butler, which takes place through several presidencies in the White House. So, yes, he’s familiar with politics. That should be helpful, especially because the Big Bad Dystopian Government concept is a bit more complex beneath the surface and demands to be taken seriously. The question is which direction that will take and how closely it will resemble Suzanna Collins‘ book. If there’s a chance here to draw comparisons to current governmental affairs, will Strong take it? Should he?

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Last night, my Twitter feed coughed out a story from THR, an exclusive report about casting rumors for Lee Daniels‘ (Precious) potential next project, The Butler. At the time, I was too stunned (and too busy laughing hysterically) by how completely wrongheaded a few of the potential stars seemed to be for their respective roles to pen something on the subject. I’ve yet to fully recover, but my typing hands are itchy. The Butler is the true life story of Eugene Allen, a White House butler who worked under eight presidents, spanning the years of 1952 to 1986. Danny Strong wrote the script (with a re-write from Daniels), based on Wil Haygood‘s 2008 Washington Post story “A Butler Well Served by This Election.” You can read the full story HERE, which is a wonderful tale not just about Allen, but about life (and race) in the White House (and America). The story also paid particular focus to the election of Barack Obama – it was published on November 7, 2008, just days after he was elected – and days after Allen himself cast his vote for the first African-American president. But while the story behind The Butler is phenomenal, and Daniels’ apparent first choice to play Allen (David Oyelowo) is pretty great, the rest of the rumored casting for the film is a big bag of “wait, what?”

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