The history of movies being turned into Broadway shows (and vice versa) has been happening for decades, and while it certainly won’t stop anytime soon, the road is littered with the carcasses of failed productions. Pulling off a massive hit is the rare exception, but the earnings can be so huge that it’s no wonder they keep trying adaptations on Broadway.
The latest movie to get madeover into a song-and-dance spectacle will be Barry Levinson‘s seminal breakthrough hit “Diner.” The very, very talky 1982 film — which launched the careers of Mickey Rourke, Ellen Barkin, Steven Gutttenberg, Daniel Stern, Kevin Bacon and Paul Reiser — was nearly shelved by MGM until a positive review from the influential critic Pauline Kael changed their minds, turning the low budget indie into a minor hit that earned Levinson his second Oscar nomination for Best Screenplay. Now as anyone who has seen the film knows, music is hugely integral, with the outstanding soundtrack boasting a plethora of oldies by artists like Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Bobby Darin, The Dell-Vikings, Carl Perkins, Memphis Slim, Fats Domino and more. So the news that Sheryl Crow has been hired to write music for the Broadway iteration has us scratching our heads.
Ok, that’s not entirely true. Those classic tunes would likely cost as an assload of cash to license, so it makes much more sense to just get someone to write some fresh music for the film. The selection of Crow is…interesting…especially considering the premise revolves around a bunch of directionless, girl-chasing young men in Baltimore in the 1950s.
And while on the surface this might seem like a crass way to revitalize a catalog movie title, it isn’t the first time Levinson has tried to continue the lives of his characters from “Diner.” In the early ’80s a TV series based on the movie was attempted, but it didn’t get past the pilot stage. The show would have starred Mike Binder and Paul Reiser reprising their roles, with Michael Madsen taking over Boogie from Mickey Rourke and James Spader grabbing the part of Fenwick from Kevin Bacon.
Anyway, we guess we’ll see how this all plays out — the show is aiming to hit the board in fall 2012 with Kathleen Marshall directing — but if Levinson ever got the original cast of “Diner” back for a new movie now to see where their lives have taken them, we’d be down with that. [Deadline]