Now that Craig Zadan and Neil Meron have secured their newest stage-to-screen project, Stephen Schwartz’s Pippin, with the (well-chosen) Weinstein Group, the big questions are: Who will star? What concept will they use to adapt the show to screen? And, who will direct? Whatever happens, PLEASE allow Tony winners Patina Miller, and Andrea Martin to recreate their roles in the film (it would also be a sin not to give Ben Vereen a cameo). But who should direct the whimsical, and sexy musical?
There are only a handful of well-known film directors who have the theater chops to pull off a masterful movie musical; and maybe even fewer who could capture the essence of this unusual piece. We have put together a group of directors that seem to be no-brainers in consideration for Pippin‘s screen director.
Diane Paulus has clearly proven herself as the front-runner for a screen version of Pippin, being as she won the Tony Award for Best Director, and the show for Best Revival. She was also responsible for the recent successful revivals of both Hair and Porgy and Bess. Her willingness to experiment, and her respect for the process of both her cast and production team has solidified her as a Broadway force to be reckoned with. It seems only fitting that she be given a shot at Pippin should she desire to incorporate film directing into her repertoire.
Before he helmed the Oscar-winning screen adaptation of Chicago, director/choreographer Rob Marshall began on the Great White Way. The brother of Tony winning director/choreographer Kathleen Marshall, he got his start in the ensemble of Cats, and moved up through the ranks from there and became a coveted Broadway choreographer. He has gone on to six Tony nominations, and to directing the film versions of Nine, Memoirs of a Geisha, and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, as well the highly anticipated screen version of Sondheim’s Into The Woods. In addition to that, he is also co-directing, and recreating his original choreography for the revival of the revival of Cabaret starring Alan Cumming, and film star Michelle Williams. Marshall’s flair for painting vivid pictures on the screen, mixed with striking movement, makes him an automatic front-runner for the screen version of Pippin.
Tell us you couldn’t picture the beautifully dark stamp of Tim Burton on a screen version of Pippin. Known, not just for his love of the macabre, but also for his love of narrative music, and musicals themselves. Burton’s musical film credits include The Nightmare Before Christmas, and the film adaptation of Sondheim’s masterpiece Sweeney Todd. (At one time Burton was even tapped to direct the Broadway version of Batman.) Now the question here is: can we picture Johnny Depp anywhere in a Pippin cast?
Bill Condon, an Oscar-winning screenwriter turned director, was introduced to the Broadway community as the screenwriter for the film version of Chicago. Since then, he both wrote and directed the film adaptation of Dreamgirls. He rose to Hollywood stardom directing Twilight: Breaking Dawn Parts One and Two. He is now director to the Broadway-intended revival of Side Show, now playing at La Jolla Playhouse, and moving soon to the Kennedy Center. His masterful understanding of both the camera, and the written word, makes him a viable choice.
It may have been his first musical endeavor, but Tom Hooper hit a home run with the film adaptation of the musical Les Miserables. Winning his Oscar for The King’s Speech, Hooper focuses not only on creating beautiful images, but on humanizing iconic characters to a relatable point. His wonderful success with Les Miz puts him on the short-list of directors that will be considered for Pippin.