When it comes to pioneers in cinematic choreography, I won’t sit here and lie about how well versed I am on the subject, but I’m familiar with the man who was arguably the most visually interesting of them all: Busy Berkeley. We may all get to know him a little bit better (or at least Hollywood’s version of him), as Warner Bros. is giving him the biopic treatment, and the aim is to make the flick a starring vehicle for Ryan Gosling. But that’s not all.
The film will be adapted from Jeffrey Spivak’s 2010 biography Buzz: The Life and Art of Busby Berkeley, and Gosling will be producing alongside his Drive co-producer Marc Platt. Platt is no stranger to films that revolve around musical numbers, as he was one of the minds behind Rob Marshall’s Nine and is part of the development committee that is bringing Marshall’s Into the Woods and the Wicked adaptation to theaters.
The big question here, as THR reports, is whether or not Gosling will take this project as his next directorial effort. He’s currently in post-production on his debut, the dark fantasy thriller How to Catch a Monster, which he also wrote. (Incidentally, Platt is producing that as well.) So really, we can’t even be sure yet whether Gosling taking the reins would be a good thing or not. There isn’t a screenwriter attached yet, so there will be quite a bit of time for him to make that decision.
For now we can just picture him as Berkeley, who was born into a family of stage performers. His early dance saw him becoming a director for Broadway, soon moving onto choreography jobs - a position in which he created some visually remarkable sequences. Berkeley made a name for himself by introducing choreography concepts that are quite commonplace now, such as overhead shots of dancers performing in geometric or kaleidoscopic patterns. He eventually went on to more straightforward directing jobs, but it’s his work on such films as Bright Lights and The Gang’s All Here that people will always remember him for.
Below you can watch two particularly grand numbers of Berkeley’s. The first is 1931’s Dance Until the Dawn, followed by a section of 1933’s Footlight Parade.
Stay tuned to see where this project is gosling, er, going.