From Sundance to Apple TV+ and, now, Oscar frontrunner status, the journey of “CODA” is next headed for the stage.
IndieWire can confirm that an official “CODA” musical is in the works, courtesy of Vendôme Pictures and Pathé partnering with Tony Award–winning Deaf West Theatre. “CODA,” which stands for Child of Deaf Adults, stars Emilia Jones as a teen trying to launch her singing career as the only hearing member of a deaf family. While Ruby’s life is centered on being an interpreter for her parents, played by Marlee Matlin and Troy Kotsur, plus working on their fishing boat with her brother (Daniel Durant), she dreams of attending a prestigious music school.
“CODA,” directed by Sian Heder, made history as the biggest Sundance acquisition ever, courtesy of Apple, which picked it up for $25 million. The film is nominated for three Academy Awards — Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Supporting Actor for Kotsur. “CODA” previously won the Directing Award, the Ensemble Award, and the Grand Jury Prize, as well as the Audience Award at 2021 Sundance. The film went on to win Best Ensemble at SAG, with Kotsur also taking home Best Supporting Actor titles at the BAFTAs, Critics Choice Awards, Film Independent Spirit Awards, and Gotham Awards.
PGA Award–winning producers Philippe Rousselet and Fabrice Gianfermi (Vendôme) and Jerome Seydoux (Pathé) co-produced the film alongside Patrick Wachsberger. Vendôme played an integral role in shepherding the film’s nearly decade-long journey, following their work on the French original, “La Famille Bélier,” on which Heder’s film is based.
Alongside Deaf West, Vendôme and Pathé are currently out to directors, composers, and writers for the stage project.
“This is a timeless story that we’ve always believed in and knew would resonate with audiences far and wide,” Vendôme Pictures’ Philippe Rousselet said. “For this reason, we are looking forward to continuing our incredible journey and bringing this universal story to life from screen to stage. We are excited at the caliber of Broadway talent interested in collaborating with us on the project.”
DJ Kurs, Artistic Director of Deaf West Theatre, added, “In the movie, there is a scene where the Deaf members of the Rossi family, confronted with an inaccessible school performance, take in Ruby’s song through the joy of others in the audience. This is an opportunity, then, to bring the story full circle by bringing it back to members of the Deaf community and by making the music accessible through our signed and sung live adaptation of the movie. It is in the mission of our organization to be the artistic bridge between the Deaf and hearing communities and we are truly excited and honored to embark on this live iteration of a story that brings together both sides of the aisle and addresses the ways that we move throughout the world.”
“CODA” is now streaming on Apple TV+.