If it weren’t already obvious enough that Harvey Weinstein is desperately trying to duplicate the success of Chicago with the company’s forthcoming stage-to-screen transfer of Maury Yeston’s Nine, the old Troll of Tribeca just made his aspirations official by hiring the highly regarded Michael Tolkin to flesh out the musical’s book for director Rob Marshall. In case you’re lost, this is identical to what worked with Chicago – only this time, Oscar nominee Tolkin will be filling in for Oscar winner Bill Condon.
I love both writers, so I wouldn’t dare insinuate that this is a step down for Weinstein or Marshall; if you’re serious about doing Yeston’s 8 1/2 homage justice, you might as well bring in a scribe who’s open about being a film snob. And I don’t think you could do much better than the guy who once imagined a soulless studio exec murdering a struggling writer after a screening of The Bicycle Thief.
Tolkin will be taking over for Arthur Kopit, who penned the book for the 1982 Tony Award winner for Best Musical. No one has been cast in the role of Guido (the womanizing director confronting a creative crisis), but Ewan McGregor has been rumored to be the frontrunner. Antonio Banderas, who played Guido in the recent Broadway revival, met with Marshall two months ago, but there’s been no word as to whether he’s still in the running.