It’s raining musicals in the U.K. film biz.
Following the success of its stage adaptation of “Billy Elliot,” Brit production powerhouse Working Title is developing a live musical version of their hit “Bridget Jones’s Diary” films. Helen Fielding, who wrote the books on which the films were based, is working on show’s book and will contribute to the song’s lyrics.
The role of Jones, a thirty-something “singleton” searching for love and a slimmer waistline, has not been cast yet. Renee Zellweger played the role in the films. She will not be returning for the stage version.
Project, which likely won’t be completed until 2011, is the latest in a slew of musical projects being developed by British film companies.
The boffo performance of “Mamma Mia!” on both stage and screen has Brit film execs racing to get auds tapping their toes and making box office tills sing.
Working Title is also developing “Eurovision: The Movie” with “Borat” screenwriter Dan Mazer and producer Damian Jones. The annual competition — a joke to some nations, a very serious point of national pride to others — brings together pop acts from across Europe to compete for its grand prize, with the winner decided by votes from national juries. Norway won the most recent Eurovision contest, which wrapped May 16.
Mazer’s latest draft is currently out to cast with production set to start by the end of the year.
“Harry Potter” producer David Heyman is working with BBC Films to develop a musical inspired by the works of Burt Bacharach. That project is still in its early stages.
Producer Duncan Kenworthy is working on a remake of “My Fair Lady” with Keira Knightley, schedules permitting, set to play the role of Eliza Doolittle. Project is being developed by Kenworthy’s shingle Toledo Prods. and CBS Films. No director has been set yet on that project.
Former BBC Films topper David Thompson is also developing his own musical comedy “Blame It on the Banghra.” Project, which is directed by Paul Angunawela, is about a young British Asian girl seeking to break into the male-dominated world of bhangra dancing.
“There’s something captivating about seeing people break into song and dance,” said Thompson. “It gives the audience an electric effect and creates an energy and release that is appropriate given the times we live in.”