After clearing the fences with the movie musical “Chicago,” Miramax Films co-chairman Harvey Weinstein will take his next at-bat with “Damn Yankees.”
He has acquired rights to the musical and has made a deal with “Chicago” executive producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron to produce the pic.
Weinstein previously tapped the Storyline duo for the “Guys and Dolls” remake, but the baseball tuner will come to the plate first.
The 1955 musical concerns a die-hard Washington Senators fan who sells his soul to the devil so his team can finally topple the Yankees and win the pennant. Its original incarnation, with music and lyrics by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross and book by George Abbott and Douglass Wallop, won seven Tony Awards. Wallop wrote the novel on which it was based.
The original “Damn Yankees” was choreographed by Bob Fosse, who did the same with “Chicago.” Rob Marshall, who directed the Oscar-winning pic “Chicago,” choreographed the 1994 Broadway revival of “Damn Yankees.” The musical was first adapted to the screen in 1958; that Warner Bros. pic starred Tab Hunter, Gwen Verdon and Ray Walston.
“I see us updating ‘Damn Yankees,’ modernizing it and really having fun with the role of the devil,” Weinstein said.
Happy to face music
Co-president of production Meryl Poster will oversee the pic with veep Jennifer Berman, with execs Tim Schmidt and Charles Layton securing the underlying rights.
Miramax’s dedication to musical remakes is understandable: In addition to winning six Oscars, “Chicago” passed the $282 million worldwide gross of “Shakespeare in Love” to become the studio’s biggest grosser at more than $300 million.
Zadan and Meron, whose next feature will be the Frank Darabont-directed “Fahrenheit 451” at Warner Bros., also are working on a new screen version of “Footloose” for Paramount.