Universal Sets Dustin Lance Black To Write And Mike Mayer To Direct American Idiot Musical
Just over a year ago Tom Hanks's production company Playtone picked up the rights to American Idiot, the Broadway musical based on the songs of Green Day that at the time had yet to open and prove that Green Day's fans would even turn out for $100 Broadway tickets. After around 400 performances and three Tony nominations it's a gamble that clearly paid off, and now Universal-- the same people who worked with Playtone to make Mamma Mia!-- is ready to move ahead with the American Idiot movie.
According to Deadline they've brought on Dustin Lance Black, the Oscar-winner who wrote Milk and Clint Eastwood's upcoming biopic J. Edgar, to adapt the screenplay, with Michael Mayer set to direct. They're expected to bring in Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong to play the drug dealer St. Jimmy, given how much money the play raked in every time Armstrong stepped into the role. Mayer wrote the book for the play-- basically the musical equivalent of the screenplay-- and won a Tony for directing Spring Awakening before directing American Idiot on Broadway as well. His film bona fides are a little thinner, having made the drama Home at the End of the World and the girl-and-her-horse story Flicka, but it's hard to argue against his familiarity with the material.
Though it might seem risky to hand over the direction of a large-scale musical to someone not all that familiar with filmmaking, it happens strangely often with these things-- Phyllida Lloyd was handed the reins for Mamma Mia! the movie after nothing but staeg experience, and Susan Stroman directed the movie adaptation of The Producers with her only previous directing credit being the Broadway version of the play. Granted, nobody would argue either of those movie were well-directed, but Mayer has a leg up by having made actual movies before. Either way, American Idiot will hit theaters even as a nationwide tour of the show is underway, so it's likely to be a hit no matter how the particulars pan out.
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