Slowly but surely, Hollywood seems to be dead set on reviving the musical. One would think that it'd be easy to adapt a popular show into a popular film, but the team behind last year's silver screen adaptation of Jersey Boys could tell you that the formula doesn't work that easily. Which is probably why it's a good thing that The Book Of Mormon hasn't been optioned just yet, and from what original cast member Josh Gad had to say, the wait is going to be quite a bit longer.
I was given the chance to speak with Gad during this weekend's press rounds for Pixels, which opens this Friday. During our conversation, I couldn't help but ask if he'd heard any further news on a feature film adaptation of Matt Stone and Trey Parker's Broadway phenomenon. While there was nothing new to report on any further planning, Gad gave the following explanation on just why the film hasn't been put into action:
I think that Trey and Matt will do it when they feel like they've got a reason to do it. The show is still doing extraordinarily well, and I think that when they feel like there's an actual purpose for telling the story through a new medium, and they feel like they've hit on that, then you'll see that movie.
Josh Gad brings up two really good points that any production company that wants to adapt a musical should think of before making the leap to film. Going back to Jersey Boys (and also, the Oscar-winning Chicago), you can begin to see where the assumed methodology of Stone and Parker makes sense. While Chicago had been revived for only 6 years by time the film was made, it had already run on Broadway in the 70's and become the stuff of legend in the industry. Jersey Boys, on the other hand, has only run for 10 years – making it a comparatively young show that people are still showing up to in droves. It makes more sense to adapt a show that's been around for a while than one that's still filling seats on a weekly basis.
Still, even if your show is off Broadway after a successful run, it doesn't mean it automatically needs to become a film. While The Book Of Mormon could theoretically be adapted into an adventurous film that spans the globe, in the wrong hands it could be watered down into something that looks like merely a filmed version of a stage restricted product. Critics of 2005's adaptation of The Producers made that claim against the film's finished form, and it sunk a film that seemed like a sure fire hit in its concept.
While this is Josh Gad theorizing why Matt Stone and Trey Parker haven't gone crazy to bring The Book Of Mormon to movie theaters, it's a pretty solid theory. Knowing the effort of work and protection the put into any original product of theirs, it's pretty much a sure thing that if there's ever going to be a film adaptation of Elders Price and Cunningham converting the people of Uganda to Mormonism, it's going to be on their terms. Which, by any true fans' terms, is more than ok.
You can see Josh Gad alongside Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Michelle Monaghan and Peter Dinklage in Pixels, opening this Friday in theaters everywhere; and be sure to keep a look out for more Pixels coverage throughout the week here at Cinema Blend!