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!”