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Tony-winning choreographer Rob Ashford is attached to direct Paramount’s big-screen take on the Broadway musical adaptation of screen classic Sunset Boulevard, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.
Glenn Close, the seven-time Oscar nominee, will star in the production, reprising the role she played twice on Broadway, more than 20 years apart.
Composer Andrew Lloyd Webber is among the producers of the project, adapted from the 1950 black-and-white Billy Wilder classic that starred Gloria Swanson as Norma Desmond, a faded and deluded silent-screen star who ensnares a down-on-his-luck screenwriter (William Holden) into her fantasy of making a comeback. A byzantine love story ensues that ends, ultimately, in tragedy.
Close is playing Norma, a role she portrayed when the musical hit Broadway in 1994, winning her third Tony Award; she reprised the part to great acclaim in a 2016 revival that played both London and New York. The musical features a score by Lloyd Webber, with book and lyrics by Don Black and Christopher Hampton. The original production won seven Tonys in all, including best musical, book and original score.
Paramount had no comment.
A fall start is being eyed. Close had been loosely attached to the project since last year, but pieces were not coalescing until a director was found. Tom MacRae, who wrote the hit London musical Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, penned the screenplay..
Ashford won a Tony for best choreography for 2002’s Thoroughly Modern Millie and earned nominations for the musicals The Wedding Singer, Curtains, Cry-Baby, Promises, Promises and Evita. He also earned best director and best choreography nominations for How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, which starred Daniel Radcliffe and John Larroquette.
Ashford worked as a choreographer on several Academy Awards shows and gained notices for his stage direction and choreography for the live television presentation of The Sound of Music and Peter Pan Live!
Ashford is currently represented on Broadway as choreographer of Disney’s Frozen musical.
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