Josh Gad, Cynthia Erivo Team for Musical Rip Van Winkle Movie (Exclusive)
Tony Award winner Cynthia Erivo is teaming with Josh Gad, who happens to be a Tony Award nominee, for a unique musical take on the American folk tale of Rip Van Winkle.
Warner Bros. just closed the deal for the hot untitled package, which includes Amanda Idoko, who will write the script based off of Gad’s idea, and the songwriting team of Kate Anderson and Elissa Samsel. The duo worked with Gad when they penned tunes for Olaf’s Frozen Adventure, Disney’s Frozen-based animated short that co-starred Gad. Erivo is attached to star.
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Gad will produce with Dan Lin and Jonathan Eirich of Rideback. Ryan Halprin of Rideback will executive produce with Erivo.
Rip Van Winkle was a short story written by Washington Irving, who also penned The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, and was a tale from the time of the American Revolution that helped lend a mythic air to colonial America. The story, about a villager who falls asleep only to wake up decades later, missing the American Revolution, is perhaps best remembered as a cautionary tale of sleeping one’s life away.
There are other story points, however: Van Winkle was not exactly a work horse; he had a nagging wife; and he liked the sweet stuff a bit too much. And let’s not forget the nine bearded men who were bowling inside a mountain and were maybe the cause of thunder.
Details of Gad’s take are being kept under the covers.
Idoko, who is repped by WME, is currently penning Plastic Man for DC and Warners.
Erivo won a best actress in a musical Tony for her work in the Broadway revival of The Color Purple. She segued into movies last year, appearing in Steve McQueen’s crime drama Widows and Drew Goddard’s pulp thriller Bad Times at the El Royale. Erivo will next portray Harriet Tubman in Harriet, Kasi Lemmons' biopic of the heroine who helped free hundreds of slaves. The actress is repped by UTA, Authentic Talent, Peikoff Mahan and UK's Identity Agency Group.
Gad, who last appeared in the hit Murder on the Orient Express, is working on Frozen 2 and has several movies in the can, including Disney’s fantasy Artemis Fowl and Universal’s A Dog’s Journey. He is repped by WME, Lighthouse Management and Media and Ziffren Brittenham.
by Graeme McMillan