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The World of Andrew Lloyd Webber: SUNSET BLVD, JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR & JOSEPH & THE TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT!

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:

Sunset Boulevard

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 naïve 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.

Joseph and his Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat

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.

Jesus Christ Superstar

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!

Readers Talkback
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  • Feb. 3, 2004, 3:07 p.m. CST

    Oh great ....

    by taxman2001

    .... if this is all true then I now know what my wife will be dragging me to see at the cinema in the future. Lucky bloody me ...

  • Feb. 3, 2004, 3:08 p.m. CST

    first

    by LydiaDeitz

    how about Starlight Express?

  • Feb. 3, 2004, 3:34 p.m. CST

    Bring on Jesus Christ Superstar! But only if...

    by Sith Witch

    they keep it solely limited to the setting of 1 B.C., without any of the modern day icons for "clever" commentaries. You have the Norman Jewison version, which is very good, but full of awful-looking hippies, and a very uneven rendition of the music. Then comes the "just okay" year 2000 videotaped stage play, bathed in golden light, an unbearded Jesus, and even more sub-par renditions of the music, not to mention nuclear arms up for sale in the marketplace sequence. How about keeping it all limited to an actual historically-authentic retelling ala The Passion or The Gospel of John films, and then try to approximate as closely as possible in EVERY way the best recorded rendition of the music ever: The ORIGINAL cast album with Ian Gillan.

  • Feb. 3, 2004, 3:36 p.m. CST

    not a fan of musicals, being that im straight, but....

    by HOB

    Kelsey Grammer would make a great Herod...can you just picture Sideshow Bob asking to hunt down children? "This tattoo doesn;t say 'Die Jesus, Die'...Its uh...German for "The Jesus, the."

  • Feb. 3, 2004, 3:43 p.m. CST

    Get Glenn Close

    by PrezMike

    All you need is to see the ALW 50th b-day concert DVD, and watch Glenn Close do the Sunset pieces. It's not even a choice.

  • Feb. 3, 2004, 3:52 p.m. CST

    Can we get a new section just for musicals Harry?!?!?

    by Nice Marmot

    You could call it Aintitfruity.

  • Feb. 3, 2004, 4:06 p.m. CST

    I won't be seeing any of these homofests.

    by fitzcarraldo2

    Because Andrew Lloyd Webber's face is inside-out.

  • Feb. 3, 2004, 4:06 p.m. CST

    herrod

    by dogassjackson

    What about Malkovich as Herrod? That would be a pretty good fit ya think?

  • Feb. 3, 2004, 4:18 p.m. CST

    Sunset: Glenn Close with Downey Jr. , John Malcovich as the butl

    by Big Bad Clone

    Or what how about Broadbent as everybody in Sunset?!! I'd pay to see that!

  • Feb. 3, 2004, 4:20 p.m. CST

    Join the Aintitcool Oscar predictions http://predict.oscar.go.co

    by mildewproduction

    Go to http://predict.oscar.go.com/predict/frontpage and create an oscar prediction then join the group aintitcool

  • Feb. 3, 2004, 4:26 p.m. CST

    who...

    by Shigeru

    ...the fuck cares? ALW sucks. This news is thrilling.

  • Feb. 3, 2004, 4:27 p.m. CST

    Who cares about this religious crap?

    by TheForeverMan

    Religion is for weenies, and so are musicals based on it. Wake up! Live in the real world!

  • Feb. 3, 2004, 4:29 p.m. CST

    Talking about JCSS of course...

    by TheForeverMan

    Though I'm sure you figured that. Don't think the others need re-making...

  • Feb. 3, 2004, 4:33 p.m. CST

    If they're gonna do Jesus Christ Superstar again....

    by XTheCrovvX

    ...damn the pop idol trend. Chris Cornell NEEDS to be Jesus. Amy (Evanescence) Lee's got a perfect Mary Magdalene voice. Dunno who could play Judas better than Carl Anderson, but, for Christ's sake (literally), if the name "Timberlake" comes up on a casting sheet, producers will be shot on sight. Thank you.

  • Feb. 3, 2004, 5:13 p.m. CST

    two words motherf*ckers

    by Exide

    JACK BLACK... if he's not involved in some way, i'll crap in my coffee. john goodman as pharoah? brilliant. cher as pharoah's wife? EFF no. after the trainwreck that was "evita", i'm surprised that this is being talked about

  • Feb. 3, 2004, 5:19 p.m. CST

    another thought

    by Exide

    forgot to mention this before, but all the choices for herod suck! either make it josh mostel or don't bother. he's not busy. perhaps wayne knight? that's the alternate.

  • Feb. 3, 2004, 5:24 p.m. CST

    Forget those pretty boys......

    by KennyB

    JCSS NEEDS Chris Cornell of SOundGarden/AudioSlave for Jesus or Judas That bastard could wail the vocals on "Garden of Gethsemne"!

  • Feb. 3, 2004, 5:25 p.m. CST

    1970 JCS London and Powderfinger

    by jbreen

    I've read a few 'Records That Influenced My Life' in RS over the last coupla years where the original 1970 London cast recording of JCS was mentioned. And by odd types - left of centre rock types. Why? Maybe because the songs and the playing a pretty darn fine - lots of hot UK players and singers from an interesting selection of bands. Not the least being Deep Purple's Ian Gillan in the title role. Considering the return to RAWK in the last coupla years I would hope that Webber doesn't do what the Oz production about 6 or so years back did and try and make it many of the tracks a bit hip-hop groove thang. The two big girl ballads could possibly be souled up a little, although I'd rather hear them as they were circa 1970. For Oz rock fans, consider this - Bernard Fanning as JC. Not convinced? Powderfinger used to do a cover of 'Heaven on their Minds'. True.

  • Feb. 3, 2004, 5:34 p.m. CST

    Good call on Jables

    by Cineman

    Jack Black does need to be in this movie. I found a live track on Kazaa where Jack sings Judas' song Heaven On Their Minds and he totally owns that song. His voice is good enough for Jesus or Judas and I bet he could pull off the dramatic part. People forget that he is a dramatically trained actor. However, Cornell needs to be Jesus because his voice is just like Ted Neeley and Ted Neeley ruled.

  • Feb. 3, 2004, 5:50 p.m. CST

    superstar

    by dogassjackson

    Well if the trend continues we'll get McG directing Superstar with Freddie Prinze Jr. as Jesus, Sarah Michelle as Mary and Matthew Lillard as Judas.

  • Feb. 3, 2004, 6 p.m. CST

    i have written a script

    by slappy jones

    its called "Translate that!" Billy crystal plays a wacky famous comedian whose career is on the downslide and he winds up befriending a mobster who is there on a journey of self discovery played by bob deniro. It is set against the backdrop of wild, whimsical korea......

  • Feb. 3, 2004, 6:20 p.m. CST

    "What's the buzz, tell me what's a-happenin'...

    by SmutGirl

    ... what's the buzz, tell me what's a-happenin'?" LOVED the album, HATED the film, missed the more recent version (2000?). I'll go see it if they don't ruin the music. (and I'm not even a Christian or anything.)

  • Feb. 3, 2004, 6:35 p.m. CST

    The 2000 JCSS sucks

    by George Newman

    'Heaven on their minds' is butchered in that version, along with several other songs, but that one stands out in my mind the most. My favorite version is the movie's soundtrack. The movie was great except for Jesus and the silly pharisee costumes. This news is really cool except for that about Joseph. That musical sucks bad bad bad bad bad!! I hate it!! I don't know, maybe it was just the Donny Osmond version that killed it for me.

  • Feb. 3, 2004, 6:56 p.m. CST

    By the way, while the subject's up....

    by XTheCrovvX

    Am I the only one who's noticed since childhood that Nintendo completely ripped off "What's The Buzz" for Mario's invincibility star music?

  • Feb. 3, 2004, 7:11 p.m. CST

    Why does this news not excite me?

    by Manaqua

    If you can call it 'news'. This shit sounds lame one and all. And teh though of seein Liza Minneli on the big screen is enough to make the bile in my stomache turn. There is no way in hell she is in the run for this.

  • As for Norma, hell if I know, it should be someone kind of washed up though. Didn't Jane Fonda just come out of retirement? Oh wait, she's terrible. As usual, i'd really rather they not remake it at all. But the only public opinion the studios care about is the financial one.

  • Feb. 3, 2004, 7:57 p.m. CST

    JCS: Buy the Original Cast Album!

    by Dr. Sid Schaefer

    I have it on CD, but I remember listening to my parents' LP (complete with 'libretto') as a kid. Great stuff. Ian Gillan's histrionic performance as Jesus is not to be missed. For me, though, it's the production. Very organic, bass-heavy and clean. I'm surprised nobody's sampled the bass loop from "What's the Buzz" yet. Plus, Yvonne whatshername is a fantastic Mary M. I'm no hippie, either--I'm a dyed-in-the-wool garage/punk rocker. Go figure!

  • Feb. 3, 2004, 8:18 p.m. CST

    garbage...

    by Damer1

    silly garbage.

  • Feb. 3, 2004, 9 p.m. CST

    Hugh Jackman was never IN "Sunset Boulevard" in Sydney!

    by pobfjhe

    Some very wrong information there. You wanna know WHY Hugh Jackman was never in "Sunset Boulevard" in Sydney? Because "Sunset Boulevard" was never IN bloody Sydney in the first place! They may have got "The Lion King" before Melbourne, but Melbourne was the only Australian city ever to house "Sunset." I saw it twice. For crying out loud, why does everything to do with Australia have to be about SYDNEY??

  • Feb. 3, 2004, 10 p.m. CST

    Great, now I know where to come...

    by Tal111

    for all the news on crappy gay musicals!! Say, what's the latest on Taboo?!

  • Feb. 3, 2004, 10:04 p.m. CST

    Speaking of religious musicals turned film...

    by CKnightShift

    ...when the heck is DreamWorks gonna start work on "Children of Eden", the prequel to "Prince of Egypt"? That would be absolutely BEAUTIFUL!!

  • Feb. 3, 2004, 10:10 p.m. CST

    Jesus Christ Super Star, CLASSIC

    by Lukecash

    Honestly, they really can't touch the 70's film for a lot of reasons...1)Its a hippy musical set in the right timeperiod. 2)Jesus Christ was played by a rockablilly texan...which is awseome when you think abou it. 3)It is a very visual surealistic film that USED the medium to convey many messages. 4)and Carl Anderson as Judas, bar none the best, most conflicted Judas of any version. 5)Yvonne Ellerman as Mary...she was GREAT...a classic voice with Hawaiian feature...she really acted the part. 6) Zero's Mostrel son playing Herod. He's the one that EVERYONE copies. Really... somehow he captured Heroed Hedoism very well.. And if you Don't know who Zero Mostrell is, then check out "The Producers" and "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum"

  • Feb. 3, 2004, 10:11 p.m. CST

    Heterosexual panic......

    by Jimmy Jazz

    rears its head on this talkback. Tis a funny, pathetic thing. Some of You guys have some insecurities, maybe?

  • Feb. 4, 2004, 2:07 a.m. CST

    I'm not so keen on JCS, but...

    by ColonelAngus

    There should be more people in Hollywood like XTheCrowX and KennyB. They just be running hollywood just for thinking of Chris Cornell as Jesus Christ. Please. The town needs you.

  • Feb. 4, 2004, 3:26 a.m. CST

    All you sexually insecure musical-bashers can relax

    by fontinau

    After "Phantom" bombs, any possibility of these movies getting made will dry up.

  • Feb. 4, 2004, 1:38 p.m. CST

    Ultra-homophobes crack me up...

    by Cary Powell

    I had a buddy a few years back who was just the same way. Just the mention of the word "musical" had him reaching for his baseball bat and noose. It was real funny, right up until he admitted his true feelings to another male friend, then blew his own brains out. You all need to grow up, and come out of the closet. I don't see a need to update JCSS. I thought the original was great, and was lucky enough to catch the tour years and years ago featuring most of the cast from the original movie, and Dennis Deyoung as Pilate. I haven't heard any of Weber's music for Sunset Blvd, but I'll go see the movie as long as Babs isn't involved. From what I've seen and heard of Hugh Jackman in musical roles, he'd be my personal pick for the Holden role. Plus, having a genre-favorite, masculine star like Jackman might settle down the closet-que**, er, homophobic anti-musical crowd. While he may not be a huge draw, Donny Osmond was fantastic in Joseph. I don't see the need for additional songs on Weber's part for this. You could easily draw an 80-minute play out by another 10-20 minutes.

  • Feb. 5, 2004, 1:42 a.m. CST

    gotta love ALW

    by adaline

    if they do these musiclas right they would be amazing. As for JCSS the managed to royaly mess it up with te new 2000 version, it should be kept as it was how it was in the movie (which is amazing). They need to keep Pilate's voice shrill like in the original the whole "listen to my normal voice" thing just does not work. there is a reason why the original was so sucessful. It was the best. BTW they need to hurry with Phantom and they better not mess it up.