Bill Condon, who helmed the musical Dreamgirls, is set to direct the Guys and Dolls remake for TriStar Pictures. The film will be based on the musical featuring music and lyrics by Frank Loesser, adapted from two short stories by Damon Runyon. The show first premiered on Broadway in 1950 and was later adapted into a 1955 movie starring Marlon Brando and Frank Sinatra. Rumblings about a remake have floated around for years, but it now looks like a real remake is finally picking up traction.
Guys and Dolls Remake
Deadline has the scoop that TriStar has brought in Bill Condon to helm a Guys and Dolls remake. Condon reportedly has been “weighing several projects to take on as his next” and Guys and Dolls ended up at the top of the list after meeting with the studio. This wouldn’t be Condon’s first shot at a musical – he helmed the film adaptation of Dreamgirls as well as the live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast. He also has a writing credit on The Greatest Showman and wrote Chicago.
A remake of Guys and Dolls has been a possibility for several years now. At one point, 20th Century Fox had the rights and wanted Channing Tatum and Joseph Gordon-Levitt to star. But the Disney-Fox merger put any plans for this film on hold, and the rights to the musical ended up lapsing – at which point TriStar swooped in and grabbed them.
Guys and Dolls originated as a 1950 Broadway production with music and lyrics by Frank Loesser and book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows. It ended up being picked for the 1950 Pulitzer Prize for Drama – but Burrows had communist ties, and since this was at the height of the Red Scare, no prize was awarded. In 1955, a movie version of Guys and Dolls directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz (brother of Herman “Mank” Mankiewicz himself) arrived starring Frank Sinatra and Marlon Brando. Here’s the synopsis:
Gambler Nathan Detroit (Frank Sinatra) has few options for the location of his big craps game. Needing $1,000 to pay a garage owner to host the game, Nathan bets Sky Masterson (Marlon Brando) that Sky cannot get virtuous Sarah Brown (Jean Simmons) out on a date. Despite some resistance, Sky negotiates a date with her in exchange for bringing people into her mission. Meanwhile, Nathan’s longtime fiancée, Adelaide (Vivian Blaine), wants him to go legit and marry her.
The film isn’t exactly great, and Brando’s singing skills leave a lot to be desired. But there are plenty of great musical numbers that keep the movie on its feet. Here’s a good example.
Condon’s work on Dreamgirls and Beauty and the Beast no doubt helped him land this gig. I never bothered to see the Beauty and the Beast remake, but I have seen Dreamgirls, and it was quite good. But when it comes to Condon, I enjoy his non-musical work. For example, he directed the underrated Candyman sequel Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh. Some of his other credits include the excellent Gods and Monsters, based on the true story of Frankenstein director James Whale; Kinsey, about sexologist Alfred Charles Kinsey; and, yes, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 and The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2.
Will Condon make a good adaptation of Guys and Dolls? Probably! I guess it really depends on how he’s going to approach the material. Will it still be a period piece? It kind of has to be, right? Or are we going to get some ghastly modern-day take on this material? I guess we’ll see. All I can hope for is that this musical number makes it into the film.
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