Call it the La La Land effect. On the heels of the popular Oscar-winning musical (which earned upwards of $400 million at the worldwide box office), the venerable genre may stick around a while longer. The Hollywood Reporter recently noted on an upcoming musical feature perhaps worth paying attention to. Veteran comedy filmmaker Ivan Reitman (Ghostbusters, Dave) is looking to direct his first musical – entitled Summer of Love – and appears to have tapped singer-songwriter Shawn Mendes to star.
Plot specifics are unknown as of now but it is being described as road-trip musical feature. The title is semi-telling as it famously references the tumultuous summer of 1967, when hundreds of thousands of people flocked to San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury in vehement opposition to the Vietnam War. The defining counterculture summer was further amplified by the memorable music legends that personified the generation including The Who, The Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin – all of whom frequented the area at the time. Len Blum (Stripes), Lorene Scafaria (The Meddler) and Shawn Wines wrote the screenplay from Reitman’s story. The project is currently going around town looking for studio support.
If Summer of Love comes to pass with Mendes, it would mark the 18-year-old Canadian performer’s first live-action feature; he previously voiced a part for The Weinstein Company animated picture Underdogs (2013). Mendes made a name for himself on Vine before breaking out onto larger fame with hits like “Stitches” and “Treat You Better.” Last fall, he made his first appearance as the musical guest on Saturday Night Live.
Reitman (father of Oscar-nominated director Jason), who earned his comedy icon stripes in the 1980s and 1990s, recently directed the Kevin Costner vehicle Draft Day (2014) and the romantic comedy No Strings Attached (2011) with Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher.
Watch this space.