Tick, Tick... Boom! (movie)

Started by scenicdesign71, Jun 28, 2019, 06:46 pm

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Jun 28, 2019, 06:46 pm Last Edit: Jan 03, 2020, 03:17 pm by scenicdesign71
...may be coming to Netflix.

Lin-Manuel Miranda is set to direct, from an adapted screenplay by Steven (Dear Evan Hansen) Levenson.

With Andrew Garfield (maybe) starring as Jon.


Chris L

With members of the Hamilton and Dear Evan Hansen teams involved in shows like Fosse/Verdon and Ryan Murphy having signed a deal with Netflix, I have a feeling we're going to see a lot of Broadway shows on the home screen. In the era of Peak TV, there's room for niche programming that wouldn't have found its way onto the air in the past, especially with the long viewing window afforded by streaming and Blu-Ray. And I expect the quality level to be higher than in the era when the late Craig Zadan seemed almost to have a monopoly on this kind of programming.
But us, old friend,
What's to discuss, old friend?


Jul 08, 2019, 05:41 pm #2 Last Edit: Jul 10, 2019, 01:53 pm by scenicdesign71
I hope you're right!

For starters, I'd like to see the works of Jeanine Tesori adapted for the screen -- mostly, granted, because I think she deserves the wide exposure; but also because the idea intrigues me on its own terms.

Violet is linear enough to work as a movie, though it would beg the question of what to do with the show's main imaginative flourish (onstage, the title character's ghastly facial scar is left entirely to the audience's imagination).

Fun Home presents plenty of visual opportunities, though I suspect the obvious one -- animation -- might be rejected out of hand by the story's subject and creator, Ms. Bechdel (not without reason, but still...).

Oddly enough, Caroline, or Change -- in some ways the most fancifully theatrical of the three, with its singing appliances and such -- intrigues me the most as a candidate for adaptation.  Structurally speaking, its marriage of historical sweep with the seemingly tiniest of family dramas seems like the kind of thing film can do really well, perhaps even better than the stage.  And I have a hunch that period footage and hyperreal, you-are-there (i.e. in early-60s Lake Charles) design and cinematography, could be interwoven with the story's fantastical/surreal elements to really fascinating effect.

I'm not really counting Thoroughly Modern Millie or Shrek here, though I suppose either could be translated back into screen terms easily enough -- and they'd presumably be much easier to sell, if also correspondingly much pricier to film, than Tesori's chamber works.

Chris L

Quote from: scenicdesign71 on Jul 08, 2019, 05:41 pmFun Home presents plenty of visual opportunities, though I suspect the obvious one -- animation -- might be rejected out of hand by the story's subject and creator, Ms. Bechdel (not without reason, but still...).

If I were an animator and a Bechdel fan rather than just the latter, I'd take that as a challenge. Although I'm not sure it would result in what would normally be thought of as a "major motion picture," I should  think that an innovative visual artist could find an animation style that would resemble neither traditional Disney hand-drawn work or Pixar-ish CGI yet capture the essence of the original graphic novel in a way no ordinary animation could. It might contain relatively little of what we ordinarily think of as character movement but have a virtual camera weaving around Bechdelish hand-drawn images so that the result would still be constantly in motion.

The result might be innovative enough to garner at least a feature-length animation Oscar, raves from film festivals and almost no mass audience whatsoever. But it might be relatively inexpensive to make, perhaps with Bechdel directing or at least serving as "cinematographer," and produce a work that would be relatively cherished by fans and art-house viewers. Netflix might even be willing to throw money at it to attract hard-to-reach lesbian viewers (not that I have any idea whether there's a portion of the lesbian audience that's holding out against Netflix).

That said, Bechdel's work is realistic enough that a more conventional live-action approach could also be satisfying -- in fact, the graphic novel is practically a storyboard -- but animation might solve the problem of creating a believable movie in which characters break out in song by abandoning any pretense at being fully realistic.
But us, old friend,
What's to discuss, old friend?


Jul 10, 2019, 03:00 pm #4 Last Edit: Jul 11, 2019, 03:14 am by scenicdesign71
Or a blend of (quasi- or fully-)animated sequences and live-action ones.  In film terms, the story's complicated structure could be made visually clear by framing a live-action (adult) Alison as the creator of the animated imagery, and the story itself as that of her struggle to shape her memories.

The "real," unvarnished events she describes could begin as her photographic (and perhaps home-movie?) "research," and at various points we could "jump into" those images (in live-action memory scenes), or into her sketches of them (with animated ones).  It sounds complicated -- juggling three separate visual styles along with three versions of Alison?? -- but, handled skillfully, I actually think it could be beautiful, and no harder to follow than the stage version.

I'm envisioning (adult) Alison, in live action, poring over photos which we see only as reflections in her glasses -- where they spring to life in her memory.
Or, the same, with her drawings, when she's "on a roll" catching those recollections on paper.

Bruce (in live action, though long-gone by this point chronologically) leaning down behind her drafting chair to look at what she's drawing.

Alison finding herself, at 43, inside her own drawings (animated), alongside her parents (at the same age), her siblings and even her younger self -- possibly as early as the opening number, when all the voices join in counterpoint.

And some kind of unexpected juxtaposition of live action and animation to quietly draw our attention to the replacement of Medium Alison with her older self at the beginning of "Telephone Wire".  This scene might be the hardest for adult Alison to draw -- perhaps she finds it necessary to literally draw her older self into the scene in order to relive it -- so when the song ends, and we see that the figure on the page is that of Medium Alison, it's both an acceptance and a defeat:  in the end, nothing much was really said that night, no questions answered, no real understanding reached.  But before that point, the song might be intercut with footage of the "real" event -- Bruce and Medium Alison in the car, in grainy 70s film stock -- while older (live-action) Alison feverishly tries to hash out a different ending on her sketchpad.

Just spitballing.

Oh, and if Ryan Murphy is hypothetically producing this -- can Sarah Paulson sing?

Chris L

As a lesbian herself, Sarah Paulson might murder Ryan Murphy if he didn't cast her as older Alison.

Brilliant spitballing, Dave. Some spitballs of my own: I wonder if it would be possible to do something similar to what Richard Linklater did with his adaptation of Philip K. Dick's A Scanner Darkly, where he filmed it with live actors (Keanu Reeves, Robert Downey, Jr., etc.), then ran it through a filter to make it look hand-drawn. Linklater's filter is too realistic and conventional, but some sort of Bechdel filter might allow the characters to blend from live action to "hand-drawn" action with the live-action older Alison stepping in and out of the filtered characters, especially in "Telephone Wire."

That said, I can't begin to imagine what a "Bechdel filter" might look like.
But us, old friend,
What's to discuss, old friend?


Jul 11, 2019, 05:55 am #6 Last Edit: Jul 11, 2019, 05:39 pm by scenicdesign71
Quote from: Chris L on Jul 10, 2019, 05:30 pmAs a lesbian herself, Sarah Paulson might murder Ryan Murphy if he didn't cast her as older Alison.
As far as actresses who definitely can sing, I'd be curious to see Sutton Foster as Helen (though she's never worked with Murphy, as far as I'm aware).  I haven't seen her TV work, but Violet on B'way was enough to confirm my long-held suspicion that there's more to her than Millie-ish winsomeness: in fact, she does prickly reserve, layered over deep hurt, very compellingly indeed.  Of course, in Violet she was still playing much younger -- she's actually nine months older than Paulson (both currently 44), but if she still reads youngish for Helen (played by Judy Kuhn at 55), I don't mind: aren't we all surprised, at one time or another, by how much younger our parents look than we remember them being, in old photos of times we can still recall?

Or you could reverse them:  Foster as adult Alison, Paulson as Helen.  (I'd like to think no one would get too bent out of shape by the optics of casting the straight actress as the lesbian cartoonist while relegating the gay one to the slightly-smaller role of her straight mother).  I like them both a lot, in different ways; it's a tough call, even granting that Foster can probably outsing Paulson by a wide margin.  (A quick internet search yields little hope of the latter as an unheralded vocal prodigy, though it did remind me that she sang briefly -- and quite pleasantly, as I recall -- in Talley's Folly at the Roundabout a few years ago).

Ellen Page, whom I adore, would be a sensational Medium Alison (again assuming, for the sake of argument, that she can sing), though even at a youthful 32 I suppose this would have to happen soon for her to be at all convincing as a college freshman.  Though she's hardly a dead ringer for either Foster or Paulson, I could accept Page as the younger version of either one (and the daughter of the other) just about equally -- which is to say, with mild suspension of disbelief and a minor challenge for the makeup designer.

I still want to see Raúl Esparza as Bruce, so much so that I can't think of any other plausible contenders for the role offhand.

Chris L

Jul 11, 2019, 03:22 pm #7 Last Edit: Jul 11, 2019, 05:40 pm by Chris L
Some non-singing actors can learn if sufficiently motivated. I remember Christine Baranski saying that she'd never sung before being cast as Mrs. Lovett in the Kennedy Center's production of Sweeney Todd back in 2002 and took lessons so that she could handle the role. You'd never have known it to see her on stage. She held her own beautifully against Brian Stokes Mitchell, whose stage singing is legendary. And she did a great duet on The Good Fight with Audra McDonald on "Raspberry Beret." Pretty good for a once-non-singing actress working side by side with two of the greatest stage singers we currently have.

That said, not everybody is teachable, though I imagine Paulson would give it a good try, assuming she isn't already a singer. I'll admit that I couldn't have imagined Paulson playing older Alison at all until I saw her as Marcia Clark in Murphy's O.J. Simpson miniseries, which was the first time I realized she could play anybody besides, well, Sarah Paulson.

I have no idea what Sutton Foster's acting range is, having only seen her in a few things, where she still seems to be playing something of an ingenue. (The TV series Younger turned this into a joke by casting her as a middle-aged woman pretending to be a millennial.)
But us, old friend,
What's to discuss, old friend?


Jul 20, 2019, 12:41 pm #8 Last Edit: Jul 21, 2019, 01:39 pm by scenicdesign71
As long as we're digressing (and just because I can't bring myself to start a whole new thread for this)...

Last year there was some discussion of the upcoming Cats movie in one of the daily threads, but now it's really upon us, in all its uncanny-valley CGI weirdness... just five months away:


I guess Dame Judi's participation is kind of sweet (?), after having bowed out of the original London production in 1981 due to what sounded like a rather spectacular rehearsal injury.  (Or two, in succession, neither of which sounded exactly minor, IIRC?  A torn tendon, followed, after that had more or less healed, by an unintentional terpsichorean flight off the edge of the deck and into the stalls?  Does this ring a bell with anyone?)


Jul 20, 2019, 01:35 pm #9 Last Edit: Jul 22, 2019, 12:18 pm by Leighton
I heard it was a ruptured Achilles; never heard anything about her throwing herself into the front row.  There has always been a vicious rumour that her injury wasn't as bad as reported, and it was her inability to handle the score that led to them replacing her with Elaine Paige
Self indulgence is better than no indulgence!


And the CGI is bloody weird 
Self indulgence is better than no indulgence!


Aug 05, 2019, 04:42 pm #11 Last Edit: Aug 23, 2019, 11:09 am by scenicdesign71
No!  It's "a level of technology which [James Corden doesn't] think has ever been used before"!
Director Tom Hooper elaborates: "we've used digital fur technology to create the most perfect covering of fur."


So now you know.   :))

And yes, Dench confirms the ruptured Achilles from wayback-when.  I think I'm recalling the dancing-into-the-stalls incident (perhaps further back than the first row, given how that set snaked through the New London's flexible space) from an ancient Theatre Crafts article, though I've never heard it anywhere else since, so I could be misremembering.

The London set also revolved, carrying along with it several rows of audience (who were consequently urged to stay seated "while the auditorium is in motion") -- which I suppose could have caused potentially-perilous confusion in rehearsal.  Seeing the show from one of those "wild" rows, five or six years into its West End run, I remember the mild disorientation of leaving my seat, at intermission, to a thereby-reconfigured space -- from which the nearest lobby exit was no longer anywhere near the one I had entered at the start of the evening.


The Cats trailer looks like someone put a movie through a Snapchat filter. 

I will still see it. 


Quote from: Jenniferlillian on Aug 06, 2019, 03:48 amThe Cats trailer looks like someone put a movie through a Snapchat filter.

I will still see it.

Morals tomorrow


Dec 18, 2019, 11:16 pm #14 Last Edit: Dec 31, 2019, 09:31 pm by scenicdesign71
I haven't yet witnessed this apparently colossal turd for myself, but the reviews are in... and it sounds as though John Guare couldn't have imagined a more batshit-insane realization of the Cats-movie nightmare that he grimly predicted almost three decades ago, nor invented more gleeful poison-pen criticism of same -- exuberantly expanding upon the universal WTF that greeted the trailer:


Apparently, burning the midnight oil in a frantic attempt to mitigate the whole digital-fur disaster didn't solve everything -- go figure.

Perhaps temporarily deranged by sleep-deprivation psychosis, director Hooper even nips at the heels of Guare's surreally-fictionalized Sidney Poitier* -- unintentionally, one presumes, though at this point who can tell? -- with his recent declaration that Cats is all "about the perils of tribalism and the power of kindness," and while I'm usually not much for rubbernecking, I'll probably go see the damn thing anyway.  Call it pity-watching, as opposed to hate-watching: seeing Hooper's brief, Oscar-laureled film career implode onscreen is bound to be unpleasant, but I suppose the price of a movie ticket is the least one can offer by way of condolence.

On the positive side, at least he wasn't desecrating material that didn't richly deserve it.  And, whatever Hooper's apparently innumerable missteps, the whole exercise was in any case -- as most of the reviews concede (in chorus with Guare and most other sentient humans) -- doomed by its very nature.

* PAUL/SIDNEY:  "I have no illusions about the merits of Cats. But the world has been too heavy with all the right-to-lifers. Protect the lives of the unborn. Constitutional amendments. Marches! When does life begin? Or the converse. The end of life. The right to die. Why is life at this point in the twentieth century so focused on the very beginning of life and the very end of life? What about the eighty years we have to live in between those two inexorable bookends?"

OUISA:  And you can get all that into Cats ?

PAUL/SIDNEY:  I'm going to try.