Robert Downey Jr. will be singing for his supper.
The actor is attached to star in a musical pitch that Warner Bros. just picked up from Brian Yorkey and Tom Kitt, the Pulitzer and Tony Award-winning composing team behind the musical Next to Normal.
Downey will also produce with Susan Downey via their Team Downey banner. Anonymous Content is also producing.
The story centers on two Broadway songwriters who find themselves creatively and financially bankrupt when their big-break musical flops. Searching for inspiration, they take jobs as counselors at the theater camp they attended as kids and hatch a plan for a big comeback.
The producers are eyeing the project as something with four quadrant appeal, blending the sensibilities of something like the musical School of Rock with the performing arts tradition of Columbia University’s Varsity Show.
Yorkey and Kitt, who have been writing musicals together since college, developed the idea with Anonymous Content’s Joy Gorman, who produced one of the duo’s musicals while undergrads.
The duo knew that Downey had attended theater camp when he was younger and took a chance on him being interested. David Gambino championed the script at Team Downy and both teams tailored the project towards a Downey vehicle before showing it to Warners’ Sarah Schechter, who bought the package. If the actor does end up committing, the part would call for singing and piano playing. (Downey has sung in movies before and released an album in 2004.)
Yorkey and Kitt (composer) are best known for the rock opera Next to Normal, which won a Pulitzer Prize won three Tony Awards, including best score. Yorkey, who works on book and lyrics, has several Hollywood projects he has written in development, including Love Undercover for Overture with Pandemonium producing and an untitled fashion musical for Paramount and Parkes McDonald. Currently he’s writing an original stage musical in collaboration with Sting.
Composer Kitt’s pop culture credits include collaborating with Green Day on their American Idiot Broadway show, which earned him a Drama Desk Award nomination. He also composed the High Fidelity musical and is working on a stage adaptation of Bring It On, based on the Universal cheerleading movie starring Kirsten Dunst.
Anonymous is developing a film version of Next to Normal and is seeking directors.
Downey, repped by CAA, is developing with Susan Downey a feature version of kids book How to Talk to Girls, set up at Fox.
Yorkey and Kitt are repped by WME with Yorkey additionally repped by Anonymous.