If you mentioned Kristen Bell and Jonathan Groff in the same sentence right now, then the conversation in question almost certainly about the Frozen movies. Bell and Groff debuted as Anna and Kristoff in the original 2013 movie, and they reprised their characters in last year’s Frozen II. However, going forward, clarification will be necessary when talking about these two actors, as Bell and Groff are gearing up to do another movie musical together.
Kristen Bell and Jonathan Groff have signed onto Molly and the Moon, an original musical that How I Met Your Mother creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas wrote and will direct. Harvey Mason Jr. from Sing and the Pitch Perfect movies will be the executive music producer, The Get Down’s Stephanie Diaz-Matos will be the music supervisor and High Fidelity’s (the Hulu series, not the original movie) Nathan Larson will compose the movie.
So what can we expect from Molly and the Moon? Well, Craig Thomas delved into the musical origins with Deadline, recalling between the making How I Met Your Mother Seasons 2 and 3, he and his wife had their first child, Elliot, who was born with Jacobsen Syndrome, a rare genetic condition. As a result, Elliot needed open heart surgery after being just two weeks old, and also had to be in an incubator, meaning his parents couldn’t touch him for a long time.
With Carter Bays on hand to witness what Craig Thomas’ newborn son was going through, the two realized that there was a story they could tell about a a child struggling to go home with its parents and begin its life. Thomas also revealed that his wife sang a lullaby to Elliot about his name, and a similar lullaby with the same melody will be used in Molly and the Moon, albeit centered on the title character instead. Thomas then provided this tease for the musical:
Kate, our lead character, the mother, is singing a lullaby to her pregnant belly and will sort of push in on that pregnant belly and go into this other world where we see a mysterious little girl in a rowboat in the middle of the ocean, looking up at the moon and hearing that song, hearing that lullaby come through the moon. It’s the moment you realize there’s this little soul, this life that wants to exist and be in the world and wants to reach the sound of that voice. She doesn’t know what it means or who it is. It just sounds like love, and she wants to reach it, and that’s sort of the moment that we connect the two worlds of our movie, the world of Molly and the real world that her parents are living in.
Kristen Bell will play Kate, and Jonathan Groff has been cast as Brian, Molly’s dad. Carter Bays added that Molly and the Moon will be live-action, and it will chronicle Molly’s journey to get to the “moon,” which represents being alive and joining the world. Some of Bays and Thomas’ inspirations for Molly and the Moon included Labyrinth, The Dark Crystal, Where the Wild Things Are and Alice in Wonderland, and Molly’s fantastical journey will see her closing paths with things like a knight in shining armor, a talking bunny and a monster.
Kristen Bell’s recent credits include The Good Place, Central Park (though she’s vacated the lead role and will play another character going forward) and hosting Encore!. She’s also returning for HBO Max’s upcoming Gossip Girl series, once again voicing the eponymous character. As for Jonathan Groff, he starred in Netflix’s Mindhunter from 2017 to 2019, and a lot of people saw his King George III performance in Hamilton for the first time when the hit musical dropped on Disney+ over the summer. He’s also set to appear in The Matrix 4.
There’s no word yet on when Molly and the Moon will be released or start filming, so stay tuned to CinemaBlend for that information. Learn what movies are heading to theaters next year with our 2021 release schedule.