EXCLUSIVE: Michelle Williams in in talks to join the P.T Barnum pic The Greatest Showman opposite Hugh Jackman. Zac Efron also is in talks for the project, which follows the story of the founder of what became the famous traveling Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.
The gears are ramping up now on the Fox musical, which has been a passion project for Jackman since 2009. The pic will purportedly be the first original live-action musical in more than two decades — since 1992’s Newsies, starring a pubescent Christian Bale. The film will tell the story of Barnum’s invention of show business, and his ultimate invention of the three-ring circus.
Oscar winner Michael Arndt is scripting, with Chernin Entertainment, Laurence Mark and Jackman producing. Jenny Bicks, Bill Condon and Jonathan Tropper have worked on previous drafts. Michael Gracey is set to direct. Gracey is best known for his dance-filled commercials and for creating one of the original flash mob videos. The original songs are by Justin Paul & Benj Pasek, who were Tony-nominated for The Christmas Story.
The versatile and talented Williams, who classes up any project she joins, recently received a Tony nom for her performance in Blackbird. Her upcoming role in Kenneth Lonergan’s Manchester By The Sea opposite Casey Affleck was unanimously praised out of Sundance and has already received Oscar buzz. That film opens November 18 in theaters from Amazon and Roadside Attractions.
Williams is repped by WME, Brillstein and attorney John LaViolette at Bloom Hergott.