Global Creatures, the outfit behind Walking With Dinosaurs — The Arena Spectacular, announced this morning that it’s signed up a top-rank duo of director Alex Timbers (Rocky – The Musical, Peter and the Starcatcher, Here Lies Love) and writer John Logan (Spectre, Skyfall, Red) to develop Baz Luhrmann’s 2001 pop fantasia Moulin Rouge! into a stage musical. Timbers most recently made news when Disney dropped him as director of its forthcoming Broadway adaptation of the animated blockbuster Frozen.

Baz Luhrmann
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The dinos’ chief executive, Carmen Pavlovic, gave no other details about the project. But the announcement adds another strange filip to a week that has seen Broadway embraced by investors beyond the typical star-struck Wall Street angels and former managers trying their hands at producing. Yesterday, the Park Avenue and Australia-based mall builder Westfield Corporation announced that it bought Scott Sanders Productions, whose acclaimed revival of The Color Purple won the Tony Award in June for Best Revival.

Developmental work on the show is underway, Global Creatures announced, and a production time-line and opening venue will be announced at a later date.

The film was released by Twentieth Century Fox and starred Nicole Kidman, Ewan McGregor, John Leguizamo and Jim Broadbent. It was a sensation when it had its premiere at Cannes in 2001, swirling the story of Henri Toulouse-Lautrec and the Montmartre demimonde with contemporary pop music and quick-cut Kodachrome visuals. The resulting hallucinogen was nominated for eight Oscars, including Best Picture, and won two. Three earlier films with the same title (but no exclamation point) included John Huston’s 1952 classic starring José Ferrer and Zsa Zsa Gabor.

“I first encountered Alex Timbers through the remarkable and inventive production of Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson and the brilliance of Here Lies Love,” Luhrmann effused in today’s announcement. “I immediately recognized the young director’s creative spirit and felt we shared similar sensibilities and instincts. So I’m tremendously happy to celebrate that Moulin Rouge! will be under his direction and that the book will be the creation of the gifted Tony Award-winning playwright John Logan, whose writing I also admire deeply.”

Moulin Rouge! is a film begging to be theatricalized,” Pavlovic said. “I can think of no better creative collaborators than Alex Timbers and John Logan to realise this new musical.” He added that Twentieth Century Fox and Moulin Rouge will co-produce the venture. Global Creatures, also producer of a stage version of King Kong, partnered with Luhrmann’s production company, Bazmark, on adapting his 1992 hit Australian film Strictly Ballroom to the stage. Strictly Ballroom The Musical opened at the Sydney Lyric Theatre, Sydney, in 2014 and is set to open at West Yorkshire Playhouse, England in November.