New happy face for 'Birdie': Shankman


Fresh off the success of his fairy tale hit "Bedtime Stories," Adam Shankman is giving a boost to a Birdie.

The musical veteran is coming on to develop and produce a long-gestating remake of "Bye Bye Birdie" at Columbia.

Shankman will join Doug Wick and Lucy Fisher, who will produce via their Red Wagon banner, as producers. Jennifer Gibgot, Shankman's partner in Offspring Entertainment, will executive produce.

A stage favorite for the past half-century, "Birdie" centers on Conrad Birdie, a popular singer whose character is based loosely on Elvis Presley. He's about to be shipped off to the Army, but as part of a publicity stunt, he agrees to one last encounter with a fan.

The 1958 musical has had several screen adaptations, including an Ann-Margret and Dick Van Dyke version in 1963 and a television movie starring Jason Alexander in 1995.

Columbia has been developing an updated version for a number of years, with the logline at one point re-imagining the title character as a hip-hop star. Several writers also have taken cracks at a new version of the story, with "Step Up 2 the Streets" director John Chu and "SNL's" Tina Fey attached to write at different points. (Shankman also produced "Step Up 2.") No new writer has been attached to the current project.

The UTA-repped Shankman, a veteran choreographer who bolstered his musical cred by producing and directing the "Hairspray" remake in 2007, recently lined up two projects, coming on to direct "Bob: The Musical" for Disney and "The 8th Voyage of Sinbad" for Columbia.

Steven Zeitchik reported from New York; Borys Kit reported from Los Angeles.