While Sony Pictures and Working Title have been denying this for weeks, it looks like they have found a director for their grand reinvention of Oliver!, the musical with music and lyrics by Lionel Bart based on the Charles Dickens novel. It’s Toby Haynes, who just made a splash with the seven-part BBC One adaptation of Jonathan Strange & Mister Norrell, based on the Susanna Clarke novel. The studio and producer denied to me he had the offer or is negotiating, but it broke last night in London’s Daily Mail.
Oliver! is being scripted by Billy Eliot‘s Lee Hall, and it will be produced by Cameron Mackintosh and Working Title partners Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner. It’s the story of a child who is badly mistreated at a workhouse in England and who runs away from the orphanage and takes up with a svengali who turns loose a group of pint-sized pick pockets. It is a coup for Haynes, who has been building steam directing British television including Sherlock, Doctor Who and Being Human, before his breakout turn in the BBC One series.
He is repped by WME and Curtis Brown.