Oscar-Winning Musical ‘Oliver!’ Getting New Movie Version

Oliver! Jack Wild Mark Lester
Courtesy of Sony Pictures

LONDON — Toby Haynes, who directed and exec produced TV drama “Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell,” is set to direct a new movie version of Lionel Bart’s musical “Oliver!,” which Cameron Mackintosh, Working Title and Sony Pictures are producing, according to the Daily Mail’s Baz Bamigboye.

“Oliver!” is set to be greenlit in a matter of weeks, once rights deals are completed, and the film will start shooting early next year, with a release penciled in for the end of next year. The film, which will be grittier than the original, will shoot on location in and around London.

Haynes and casting director Lucinda Syson have started to scout for the young British actors who’ll play the title character, the Artful Dodger and the other kids in the musical. Working Title has experience in seeking out young talent as it produced the film and stage versions of “Billy Elliot.” The stage show is in its 11th year at London’s Victoria Palace and is about to go on tour.

The 1968 Carol Reed film “Oliver!” won five Oscars, including best picture, best director and best score.

Haynes also directed the opening episode of the BBC’s reworking of “The Musketeers”; the finale to the second season of “Sherlock,” “The Reichenbach Fall”; the opening episode of the first season of the BBC show “Being Human”; the third season of “Wallander,” starring Kenneth Branagh; the season-five finale of “Doctor Who”; and a “Doctor Who” special, “A Christmas Carol,” starring Michael Gambon.

“I don’t care if Jennifer Lawrence is cast as Nancy and Leonardo DiCaprio as Bill Sikes — no film of ‘Oliver!’ will work without the right kids to play Oliver and Dodger,” an unnamed executive linked with the production told the Daily Mail Thursday.

In December, choreographer-director Matthew Bourne, who is behind the stage version of “Edward Scissorhands,” told the Guardian that he was set to work with Mackintosh on a movie version of “Oliver!,” although it is unclear if he is still attached to the project.

Haynes (not related to American director Todd Haynes), who is a graduate of the U.K.’s National Film and Television School, is represented by Joe Phillips at Curtis Brown.

A spokesperson for Working Title said it was “premature” to confirm if Haynes was attached to direct “Oliver!”

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  1. Kennith Perry says:

    I have been wanting this for years. I loved the original but would love a new version, I just hope this Oliver actually does the singing unlike the boy from the original.

  2. Robert says:

    Though I am a big fan of the 68 version, the only musicals on screen that seem to work today are those with more of a pop sound. Personally I would run out to see it, but I would also be prepared to be disappointed. How could you top late greats Ron Moody & Jack Wild as Fagin & the Dodger. I applaud them for making the attempt, but they got a BIG mountain to climb.

  3. Beth C. Pfohl says:

    Hmmm. Definitely have to give a lot of thought as to who will play Oliver and the Artful Dodger, but I’m hoping they might be just as thoughtful when casting for Fagin. I’d throw Christopher Walken or John C Reilly into the mix as triple threats to be considered. And maybe Hugh Jackman (roughed up of course), as Bill Sykes and Anne Hathaway as Nancy.

  4. Davi says:

    Eh. They already tried to do a remake. (The one with Elijah Wood). I’d prefer to have a movie version of a musical that hasn’t already been adapted for screen. The original Oliver! was magic and hasn’t gotten outdated with time.

  5. wa says:

    It couldn’t possibly be as good as the original. When a movie musical works as well as the first one, it’s like lightning in a bottle. Do they really think they can recapture that so easily?

  6. cadavra says:

    When one thinks of the countless Broadway musicals that have never been filmed, yet another remake–especially of one that won the Best Picture Oscar–is especially absurd. Pascal may be gone, but Sony continues to remain clueless.

  7. rachmach says:

    They should get Samantha Barks! She played Nancy already on the West End and she would be fantastic for the film version!

  8. Bill B. says:

    I guess eventually everything will be remade. Not such a terrible thing in this case. Despite that Oscar, the original is pretty weak. Is there really an audience for this kind of thing nowadays?!

    • jez says:

      Is there an audience for this kind of thing nowadays? We’ll let the people who flocked to the likes of Pitch Perfect, Mamma Mia! and Enchanted decide on that.

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