Hey folks, Harry here... Sounds like Webber's company is hungry to nail some fairly audacious productions of his properties in the cinematic vein. I'm particularly interested by the babble regarding SUNSET BLVD... that one would be great, particularly with Liza, she's absolutely perfect for her close up. Treat all of this as rumor, here ya go...
I work for Andrew Lloyd Webber's Really Useful Company in London and thought you might be interested in the information I have. Of course, if you do use it, I would request that you leave my name off of the site, as I don't think my employers would be very happy about me leaking this stuff.
Lets take it one film at a time:
Webber is very keen for this to be the next film to go into production after The Phantom of the Opera is done and dusted.
Obviously the main role of Norma Desmond is the most hotly contested of all with Liza Minnelli, Barbra Streisand, Bette Midler, Susan Sarandon, Judi Dench and Shirley Maclaine all said to be under consideration, as is Glenn Close who played it on Broadway.
Webber has spoken to Streisand about it previously, as she has recorded songs from the show her albums, but he is said to be uneasy over how much control Streisand wants, perhaps even directing, but in the very least producing. Minnelli is a favourite because it is thought that some of her old television recordings she made with her mother years ago could fill in for the parts where the characters watch Norma's films she made as a teenager.
The trouble with casting the part of a washed up icon whose star power is fading is that the only suitable actresses are washed up icons whose star power is fading which isn't good news for musicals which have been traditional difficult to sell in recent years, especially without a star name above the title.
That's why so much emphasis is being put on finding a big star to play the male lead of Joe Gillis. Russell Crowe, Robert Downey, Jr and Ewan McGregor are all on the list but far and away the favourite is Hugh Jackman who played the role in Sydney. It is felt that as well has having the lungs to pull off the singing, he will be a big attraction to those who liked him as Wolverine.
For Betty Schaeffer, Jennifer Love Hewitt is thought to have the sickly sweet and naÃ¯ve qualities required to play the part, but Martine McCutcheon and Britney Spears are waiting in the wings.
Five actors are all being considered for the role of butler Max: Patrick Stewart, Albert Finney, Kelsey Grammar, Jim Broadbent and Jonathan Pryce. All of them are also being thought of as possible Cecil B. DeMilles, with John C. Reilly wanted as Artie Green.
Perhaps most surprisingly of all with this production is the choice of director: Martin Scorsese. Apparently he is a big fan of Billy Wilder and his Sunset Boulevard in particular, and is keen to try his hand at another musical after "New York, New York", which may add credence to the chance of Liza Minnelli as Norma.
Webber has apparently been talking to Joel Schumacher about this whilst the latter has been working on Phantom. The show is only about 80 minutes long so Webber knows he will need to pen extra songs to make it feature length.
Apart from the obvious good singing voice, the next main attribute that is considered vital for playing Joseph is looking good with your shirt off so not surprisingly Hugh Jackman is in the running again along with Brad Pitt and Mark Wahlberg, neither of which I realise could sing, unless Webber is penning rap songs for the return of Marky Mark. Far more likely is Robert Downey, Jr or Ricky Martin as well as young studs Enrique Englesias, Adam Garcia and Daniel MacPherson.
John Goodman is the only one being considered for the Elvis-like Pharaoh, with Nathan Lane as Potiphar and either Cher or Megan Mullally as Potiphar's glamorous wife. Richard Dreyfuss was wanted for Joseph's father but appearing in the London production of The Producers may take him out of the running.
Virtually every glamorous actress who can sing is up for the part of the Narrator with Taye Diggs, Jason Scott Lee and Neil Patrick Harris filling out some of the ethnically diverse brother roles.
Webber is keen for this to be updated as it his one of his favourite pieces.
As with Joseph looking good without your shirt is a vital casting point so as well as all those above considered for Joseph Gerard Butler, the movie Phantom is in the running.
It is thought that the role of the treacherous Judas will be offered to any of the guys who don't get the lead as Jesus. As for Herod, Nathan Lane, Jonathan Pryce, Kelsey Grammar and Jeremy Irons are all possibilities but most wanted is Kevin Spacey to add some much needed star power to the proceedings.
Likely to be the most highly contested role of all though is Mary Magdalene with Daphne Rubin Vega, Mya, Brandy, Toni Braxton and all of Destiny's Child being considered. Expect a pop star rather than proper actress to get this part though, as Webber realises the importance of shifting soundtrack albums.
Well, I guess that's it for the moment. I hope some of this proves useful and strengthens any other reports you may have heard. I'll keep you updated of any development.
Great site the way, keep up the good work!