Richard Linklater to Direct Sondheim Musical in ‘Boyhood’ Vein With Beanie Feldstein and Ben Platt – Report

The film will be an adaptation of Stephen Sondheim's "Merrily We Roll Along."
Director Richard LinklaterTexas Film Awards Gala, SXSW Festival, Austin, USA - 08 Mar 2018
Richard Linklater
Suzanne Cordeiro/REX/Shutterstock

Director Richard Linklater broke ground with his 2014 coming-of-age film “Boyhood,” which unfolded across 12 years, filming every year, and went on to be nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Now, according to a new report from Collider, Linklater is in talks to direct another multi-year film — this time with stars Beanie Feldstein and Ben Platt.

Produced by longtime Linklater collaborator Ginger Sledge, and possibly with the involvement of producer Jason Blum and Blumhouse, the film will be an adaptation of Stephen Sondheim’s Tony Award-nominated stage musical “Merrily We Roll Along.” Sondheim’s 1981 musical is based on the 1934 play of the same name by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart, and it takes place across 20 years, with sources saying that Linklater will maintain fidelity to that timeline.

Unfolding from 1957 to 1976, “Merrily We Roll Along” centers on Broadway composer Franklin Shepard, who jettisons his New York theater career for a life in Los Angeles as a movie producer. The film moves back in time to show Franklin’s highs and lows alongside his best friend, theater critic Mary Flynn. Platt will play Franklin, and Feldstein will play Mary, according to the reports, which also say Linklater will shoot the film in reverse chronological order, as the original play and musical both end at the start of the main characters’ careers, when they are in their mid-20s.

Platt, a 25-year-old Tony Award winner, wowed onstage in such musicals as “Dear Even Hansen” and “The Book of Mormon,” and his growing film credits include “Pitch Perfect,” “Pitch Perfect 2,” and “Ricki and the Flash.” Coming up he has Netflix’s Ryan Murphy series “The Politician” opposite Gwyneth Paltrow and Jessica Lange.

Feldstein, meanwhile, is on an indie film roll, going from cult-icon breakout in “Lady Bird” as Saoirse Ronan’s bestie, to comic genius in Olivia Wilde’s much-adored “Booksmart.” Next up, she’ll be seen in “How to Build a Girl” with Emma Thompson and Chris O’Dowd, and A24’s “The Humans,” and also appears in FX’s “What We Do in the Shadows.”

Linklater’s “Where’d You Go, Bernadette,” starring Cate Blanchett, is currently in theaters. His adaptation of Sondheim is the actor’s first foray into a musical proper, though you could argue “School of Rock” stands as a musical on its own.

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