EXCLUSIVE: HBO, Bryan Singer Adapting Bob Fosse Story
Bryan Singer is going from mutants and giants to the life of one of the great choreographer-directors of the 20th Century.
HBO Films has optioned Bye, Bye Life: The Loves and Deaths of Bob Fosse, a forthcoming biography from Sam Wasson. Singer (X-Men, Jack the Giant Killer) is attached to direct the adaptation, which is to be a feature-length film designed for the premium cable network. Neil Meron and Craig Zadan, the duo behind movies such as Hairspray and Chicago and the upcoming remake of Footloose, is exec producing with Singer.
The project, now untitled and in early development, will be a co-production with Sony Television. No writer is on board.
An actor, dancer, choreographer and stage and screen director, Fosse presented a version of his life in his autobiographical 1979 feature All That Jazz. That Oscar-winning film starred Roy Scheider as a hard-living choreographer/director determined to push the envelope.
After several early film appearances in such movies as Kiss Me Kate, Fosse moved to Broadway, where he choreographed such shows as The Pajama Game and Damn Yankees. On Yankees, he met his future wife, dancer Gwen Verdon.
Fosse created his own, immediately recognized jazz dance style, full of bowler hats, jazz hands, angular hip thrusts and shrugging shoulders.
On Broadway, he went on to direct and choreograph such shows as Redhead, Sweet Charity, Pippin and Chicago.
He made his film debut as a director with the 1969 movie version of Sweet Charity, starring Shirley MacLaine. His second feature, Cabaret, won eight Oscars, including best director and best picture. In addition to All That Jazz, his other feature credits include Lenny, which starred Dustin Hoffman as comedian Lenny Bruce, and Star 80, in which Mariel Hemingway played murdered Playboy centerfold Dorothy Stratten.
Wasson is a movie historian who wrote A Splurch in the Kisser: The Movies of Blake Edwards as well as Fifth Avenue, 5AM: Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany's and the Dawn of the Modern Woman.
Singer, repped by WME and attorney David Feldman, is in preproduction on his latest tentpole, New Line's Jack the Giant Killer, and is narrowing the list of young actors for the movie's lead after conducting screen tests in December. He also is producing X-Men: First Class along with Lauren Shuler Donner. First Class opens June 3.