Three rising songwriters, Sukari Jones, Khiyon Hursey and Mark Sonnenblick, will write the tunes with Pasek and Paul, the duo behind “La La Land,” “Dear Evan Hansen” and “The Greatest Showman.” The film, set up at Apple, is set to debut next year.
Though specific details have been kept under wraps, the film is described as a “modern musical reimagining” of the timeless holiday tale about Ebenezer Scrooge and the spirits of Christmas Past, Present and Future.
Jones, a playwright, screenwriter and musical theater lyricist, is a graduate of Vassar College and New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. Hursey has written for the romantic musical drama “Soundtrack” and is currently penning “Love in America,” a movie musical that will be produced by Issa Rae. His musical “Eastbound” was selected for the 2020 National Alliance for Musical Theatre Conference and he has works in development at New York Stage and Film and Ars Nova. Khiyon got his start as the music assistant on the off-Broadway and Broadway productions and the cast album of “Hamilton.” Sonnenblick has been nominated for Emmy and Drama Desk awards, with credits on “Song of Parkland,” “Saturday Night Seder” and “Midnight at the Never Get.”
When it comes to writing songs for the screen and stage, the collaborators known as Pasek and Paul have an enviable track record. They won an Oscar for writing “City of Stars,” the catchy tune sung by Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling in “La La Land.” They also scored Academy Award nominations for “Audition (The Fools Who Dream)” from “La La Land” and “This Is Me,” the power ballad from “The Greatest Showman.”
Pasek and Paul gained national recognition after the success of their Tony-winning musical “Dear Evan Hansen.” They served as executive producers on the film adaptation starring Ben Platt. In between projects, they have written original music for “Trolls,” Disney’s “Aladdin” remake and the NBC cult hit “Smash.”
“Spirited” — featuring Octavia Spencer alongside Ferrell and Reynolds — will be written and directed by Sean Anders and John Morris, who previously teamed on “Daddy’s Home” and “Instant Family.” Apple won rights to the film in 2019 after a heated bidding war, beating out lucrative offers from Netflix, Warner Bros. and Paramount.