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New Movie Musicals Range From Standards To WTF

By Julienne Bilker in Arts & Entertainment on Mar 10, 2009 6:15PM

2009_03_musical.jpg After reading that Jim Carrey and Jake Gyllenhaal had been cast in a remake of the musical Damn Yankees, we were cautiously optimistic. Carrey as the Devil? Seems about right. Gyllenhaal as an ordinary guy who sells his soul to play professional baseball? Sure. However, a few important pieces are missing: director, script, and leading lady Lola, a seductress in the Devil’s employ, who must be able to sing and dance. There’s a lot of room for error here. Musicals get a bad rap in general, so a poorly made film is like a salt-bath for a wounded art form.

Even when starting with good material, translating stage-to-screen is easy to screw up - Chicago and Dreamgirls were well-received, but The Producers and Rent flopped. Then there are movies like Mamma Mia which, despite its box office success, did nothing to contradict the genre’s reputation for being fluffy and, well, kind of stupid. And we won’t even start on High School Musical. We’re all for finding a larger audience for musical theater, but are these projects really helping?

Nine, a musical based on Federico Fellini’s , is due out in November. We love this show and think the cast, directed by Chicago's Rob Marshall and led by Daniel Day-Lewis, will be great. Mostly. Hopefully Penelope Cruz will sound as sexy belting "A Call From The Vatican" as she's sure to look. We’re nervous to hear Nicole Kidman’s "Unusual Way," one of the most beautiful songs in the score, although at least she’s proven she can carry a tune. But we nearly fell off our chairs upon learning that Maury Yeston, the original composer, has penned a few new songs for the movie, one of which will be … a dance number for Kate Hudson? Let that sink in for a minute.

Ready for more? Coming soon to a theater near you:

Slumdog Millionaire director Danny Boyle is rumored to be bringing My Fair Lady back to the silver screen. Fame has just been re-made. Rick Astley, who last surfaced rickrolling a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade float, is writing a musical that we can only pray will not include a fully orchestrated arrangement of "Never Gonna Give You Up."

And last, but of course not least: Kanye West is working with Motown Legend Lamont Dozier to compose what we suspect will be titled Kanye West presents Kanye West in: 'Kanye West: The Kanye West Story.'