EXCLUSIVE: Not yet a year into his expensive five-year deal with Netflix, Ryan Murphy is about to deliver his biggest get for the streamer. Deadline hears he will direct and produce the feature adaptation of the Tony-nominated stage musical The Prom and has secured a cast that puts Netflix in new starpower territory.
Meryl Streep will star alongside James Corden, Nicole Kidman and Ariana Grande, with Awkwafina, Keegan-Michael Key and Andrew Rannells playing key roles. Sources said Murphy will get underway directing the film adaptation of the Broadway hit in December, for a fall 2020 awards season release in theaters before it airs on the streamer.
Murphy adds this to three series he is delivering — The Politicians, Ratched and Hollywood — with two yet to be announced documentaries and another movie stage adaptation coming. Latter is The Boys in the Band, directed by Joe Mantello with the recent Broadway 50th anniversary revival cast. That one begins shooting in July, fresh off its recent Tony win.
In Prom, Streep will play Dee Dee Allen, a two-time Tony winner who teams with Corden’s Barry Glickman in a flop musical about Eleanor Roosevelt. After career-ending reviews, they decide — along with Broadway babies Kidman as Angie Dickinson and Rannells (Book of Mormon) as Trent Oliver — to champion a cause to rehabilitate their careers. They find one in Emma, a high school senior in Indiana who isn’t allowed to take her girlfriend to the prom. A nationwide search led by casting director Alexa Fogel is on to fill the role of Emma.
Grande will star as Alyssa, a popular daughter of the head of the PTA. Awkwafina will play the group’s publicist Ms. Sheldon, and Key will play Streep’s love interest and Emma’s ally, Principal Hawkins.
Murphy will produce with Alexis Woodall, Bill Damaschke, and Dori Berinstein. Script is by Bob Martin and Chad Beguelin, music and lyrics are by Beguelin and Matthew Sklar, based on the original concept by Jack Viertel.
Murphy’s star-studded cast came together quickly this spring. All were the director’s first choices, and each said yes quickly after seeing the Tony-nominated musical with its themes of inclusion and tolerance.
Murphy will produce the soundtrack along with Grande and her manager, Scooter Braun.
The Prom will cap a prolific year for Murphy, who has won a Golden Globe for The Assassination of Gianni Versace, a Peabody Award for Pose, and a Tony Award for Boys in the Band. Murphy, Streep, Kidman, Corden and Grande are all repped by Kevin Huvane, who went above and beyond in packaging the film for CAA.
For Netflix, this comes a day after the streamer announced it secured George Clooney to direct and star in an adaptation of the Lily-Brooks Dalton novel Good Morning, Midnight, with script by Mark L. Smith.