EXCLUSIVE: Universal Pictures is negotiating to turn the Green Day-fueled Broadway musical American Idiot into a feature film. Dustin Lance Black, the Oscar-winning Milk scribe, is in talks to write the script, and Michael Mayer will direct. Mayer helmed the stage run of the musical, which is closing on Broadway April 24 and launching a tour in the fall. Black most recently scripted J. Edgar, the Clint Eastwood film that stars Leonardo DiCaprio as J. Edgar Hoover.
The musical, which uses the songs of the punk band’s seminal 2004 album to tell the coming-of-age story of three small-town guys, was optioned before its opening last spring by Playtone partners Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman. They previously turned the stage hit Mamma Mia! into a Universal film. It is expected that Green Day lead singer/songwriter Billie Joe Armstrong will be courted to play the role of the drug dealer St. Jimmy. Each time he did a stint in the role on Broadway, the grosses rose considerably at the St. James Theatre. The band was actively involved in the formation of the musical.
Universal adds American Idiot to a recent deal the studio made for an adaptation of the Cameron Mackintosh-produced musical Les Miserables. That Working Title-produced film shapes up to be the next directing outing from Oscar-winning The King’s Speech helmer Tom Hooper. Universal recently dropped plans for a movie version of In The Heights, which Kenny Ortega planned to direct with show creator Lin-Manuel Miranda starring. Universal also will eventually get a movie version of Wicked, but there is no hurry because the musical consistently out-grosses everything on Broadway as it approaches its eighth year.