Hugh Jackman seems to have a real dedication to the art of the musical. His work on Broadway (The Boy From Oz) earned him a Tony Award, he brought a little bit of magic back to the Oscars with his singing and dancing extravaganza, and now he’ll be starring in The Greatest Showman on Earth- a musical take on the life of P.T. Barnum.
The project will have a rather strong connection to the recent Oscars, as it will share not only a performer, but producer Laurence Mark, and writer Jenny Bicks. Grammy-nominated artist MIKA will likely be pulling song-writing duties (he’s mentioned as being “in talks”). I am unfamiliar with MIKA (I’ve skipped over some high-pitched pop on my girlfriend’s iPod that I think might have been him), but his possible involvement would imply a very modern musical approach to the story of the famous ringleader.
Variety notes that the production resembles “the old Hollywood tradition in which tuners were scripted with specific actors in mind,” and this seems to be exactly the case. Besides the lead role obviously being developed specifically for Jackman, Anne Hatheway will have the part of Jenny Lind written just for her. The swedish singer was brought to America at great expense for almost 100 concert performances by Barnum in 1850. The “Swedish Nightingale,” was both an investment and a love-interest for Barnum- a relationship that will likely drive the film.
The Greatest Showman on Earth is set up at 20th Century Fox, a studio with a strong (if creatively iffy) relationship with the Australian performer. That being said, I’ll take news like this over news like Jackman signing onto a hack-comedy any day.