Diablo Cody has spent the last few months doing the circuit with Jason Reitman‘s “Young Adult,” and along the way she talked up “The Evil Dead” remake that she recently gave a polish to, as well as the long-developing “Sweet Valley High.” What we learned over the past little while is that the adaptation of popular series of tween books will go into “hard R” territory in a picture that Cody said she hopes will be an “American Graffiti” for the ’80s. So perhaps we should have seen this next bit coming.
MTV caught up with Cody at the Critics Choice Movie Awards where she revealed that “Sweet Valley High” is going to be a musical. “Oh my gosh! OK, so I am so excited about ‘Sweet Valley High.’ There’s original songs being written for it right now, which is the most exciting development. They’re amazing. They’re being written by these Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning songwriters from Broadway who are the best,” she said. “Brian Yorkey and Tom Kitt, who wrote [the Broadway show] ‘Next to Normal‘; they’re amazing and I’m sorry, I could go on and on. But I’m very excited about ‘Sweet Valley High.’ It’s going to blow people’s minds. I haven’t really had the chance to talk about this yet, so it’s exciting.”
The musical angle is actally kind of a no brainer. Firstly, “American Graffiti” boasted a huge soundtrack so that Cody is following that inspiration makes sense. And looking back at her filmography — “Juno,” “Young Adult,” “Jennifer’s Body” — each of those films had big music components as well, so really, this seems like the next logical step.
The ’80s setting should provide an interesting palette for Yorkey and Kitt to write around, and could be a lot of fun (unless it devolves into parody, which we’ve seen enough of frankly). But if Cody is aiming for a sincere evocation of the period, and pairing it up with some winking, stylized numbers from the decade, this could turn into something special. We’ll see how this develops, but before Cody tackles any of it, she’ll spent the year directing her first feature “Lamb Of God.”