The Weinstein Company is collaborating with Storyline Entertainment partners Craig Zadan and Neil Meron to adapt this year’s Tony Award winner for Best Musical Revival, Pippin, and bring it to the big screen. After the success of the screen adaptation of Chicago in 2002 (also produced by TWC and Storyline), Harvey Weinstein immediately purchased the film rights to Pippin.
James Ponsoldt, director of The Spectacular Now, has been tapped to write the script. Ponsoldt introduced his second feature, Smashed, at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival and won the U.S. Special Jury Prize for Excellence in Independent Film Producing. In 2013 he debuted The Spectacular Now at Sundance and won the Special Jury Award for Acting. Like Pippin, The Spectacular Now is a coming-of-age film. Pippin is the Royal Heir to King Charlemagne in the Middle Ages. He is spurred on by a group of mysterious performers to embark on an existential journey to find “his corner of the sky.”
Ponsoldt elaborates on the process of adapting the story of Charlemagne’s son to the silver screen at length, stating: “I would say that with the tone, what’s really great about Pippin, is that it was written by Stephen Schwartz, who did Wicked, Bob Fosse directed the original. But it’s not like dark Bob Fosse‘s. It’s not like All that Jazz or Chicago. The tone is like The Princess Bride or Monty Python and the Holy Grail. It’s an absurdist, episodic take that’s irreverent. At it’s core, it’s a coming-of-age story about a guy who’s 22 and wants to live an extraordinary life, but can’t even figure out what that means and how to make himself happy.”
Craig Zadan and Neil Meron are on a roll. They are producing the Academy Awards for the second year in a row, have just produced the TV Sound of Music with Carrie Underwood that was seen by over 18.6 million people and gave NBC it’s highest ratings of the year. They also produced the mini-series Bonnie and Clyde, shown on 3 networks simultaneously (A&E, Lifetime and History).