EXCLUSIVE: At long last, 20th Century Fox is moving forward with Guys And Dolls. The studio has set Michael Grandage to direct the picture, and casting is just getting underway on the remake of the stage and movie classic. Danny Strong wrote the script. John Goldwyn is producing the picture with Working Title. Bernie Telsey is casting.
This is sure to set in motion a lot of lust from leading men and ladies who can sing and dance. When Deadline revealed that Fox finally tied down the rights a couple years ago, the studio was eyeing a killer pairing of Channing Tatum and Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the roles made famous by Frank Sinatra and Marlon Brando. It is unclear whether these guys are still in the mix. A lot of time has passed, and a number of actors have coveted these roles in past attempts to adapt Guys And Dolls, each time a movie deal was rumored. Years ago, it looked like Harvey Weinstein was getting the rights, with his Chicago exec producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron producing the film. Thesps from Russell Crowe to Vin Diesel, Hugh Jackman and others all tossed their hats into the ring to play the leads. Those deals never happened because Jo Loesser, the widow of songwriter Frank Loesser, never found a deal to her liking. That finally happened in 2013.
Grandage directed a stage version of the musical in the West End in 2005, a production that starred Ewan McGregor as Masterson and Douglas Hodge as Nathan Detroit. Grandage directed Genius, the John Logan-scripted adaptation of the A. Scott Berg book about Max Perkins, the legendary literary editor who oversaw works of Thomas Wolfe, Ernest Hemingway and other great writers. That film stars Colin Firth, Nicole Kidman, Jude Law, Guy Pearce and Laura Linney, for Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions releasing June 10.
Guys And Dolls was taken from Damon Runyon’s short stories that captured the rogue gangsters and gamblers of the 1920s and ’30s. In the 1955 movie, Nathan Detroit (Sinatra) has a town full of captive gamblers and wants to set up a floating crap game but needs money to do it. He bets his pal Sky Masterson (Brando) that Sky can’t get the wholesome Sarah Brown (Jean Simmons) — who runs a mission — to go with him to Havana. Frank Loesser wrote the music and lyrics, and Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows wrote the book. The musical won the Tony for Best Musical when it premiered in 1950, and won the 1951 Pulitzer for Drama, until the troubles Burrows was having with the House Un-American Activities Committee caused the Trustees of Columbia University to veto the selection. Guys And Dolls was then turned into the 1955 movie. The classic Loesser songs included “Luck Be a Lady” and “Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ The Boat.”
CAA reps Grandage.