Michelle Williams has been offered the part of U.S. navy ensign Nellie Forbush in a new big screen adaptation of the musical, South Pacific. Director Michael Mayer and team of producers have not yet entered official pre-production on the script by Lynn Grossman.
The first big screen adaptation of the Rodgers and Hammerstein award winning stage play was made in 1958. It starred Mitzi Gayner as Nellie and featured Rossano Brazzi, John Kerr and Ray Walston in the leading roles with Juanita Hall as Bloody Mary, the part that she had played in the original stage production.
Lynn Grossman has gone back to the original source material Tales Of The South Pacific by James Michener, for the new screenplay which was the source of the 1949 stage play.The play has been a popular one for years and the London version featured a very young Sean Connery in the all male chorus.
Producers have hinted that they would like Hugh Jackman as De Becque. Which with Jackman’s award winning performance in Les Misérables does make a lot of sense. They apparently have their eye on Justin Timberlake or someone similar for the role of young Navy officer Lieutenant Cable.
Michelle Williams 32, sang in her 2011 film My Week With Marilyn, in which she played Marilyn Monroe and at the time told the Daily Mail she would love to sing and dance in a musical.
Bob Balaban is producing the remake of the musical. Considering that his credits as a producer have been far and few, most notably Gosford Park But he is hoping to give a more contemporary big-screen remake.
South Pacific chronicles the romances that bloom between an American nurse and an expatriate Frenchman in the South Pacific; as well as a U.S. lieutenant and a Tonkinese woman while race issues play out in the background. Balaban has said that this version of the musical will incorporate the songs more organically by going back to the source material in the novel by James Michener that first inspired the stage show.
The news that Hollywood is remaking yet another old popular film comes as no surprise considering the huge amount of remakes that have been made recently and are still in the pipeline to be remade. The choice to remake older classic and, in some cases, iconic films have met with outcries from fans of the original films. Hollywood isn’t just remaking old Hollywood films, they are also in the process of remaking popular foreign films as well.
But following the huge success of Les Misérables, which was directed by Tom Hooper, Hollywood has realised that going back to the musical is a money spinning venture and will no doubt look to remaking more classic films that have been adapted from stage plays. Of course this is nothing new, Hairspray has gotten, most noticeably, the remake treatment with the 2007 featuring John Travolta in drag as the mother who was played by Devine in the original 1988 John Waters adaptation of the stage play.
It remains to be seen as to whether Michelle Williams will actually accept the offer of the part, but it would seem like a good move. After all it didn’t really hurt Mitzi Gaynor.
By Michael Smith