After spending twelve years filming the Oscar-nominated coming of age drama Boyhood, it seems that director Richard Linklater is thinking even longer term for his next project, with Variety revealing that the filmmaker is teaming with Ben Platt (Pitch Perfect) and Beanie Feldstein (Booksmart) for an adaptation of the Stephen Sondheim musical Merrily We Roll Along.
The musical, based on the 1934 play by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart, takes place over a 20-year span and follows successful Broadway composer Franklin Shepard who abandons his career, friends and relationships in New York to make it as a movie producer in Hollywood. Platt will play Franklin, with Feldstein as his best friend Mary Flynn. Linklater intends on staying true to the timeline of the musical, which begins at the height of Franklin’s fame, before moving backwards in time to explore the moments that shaped his life. As such, the plan is to shoot the project in reverse chronological order, from the characters’ mid-20s through to mid-40s.
“I first saw, and fell in love with Merrily in the ‘80s and I can’t think of a better place to spend the next 20 years than in the world of a Sondheim musical,” said Linklater. “I don’t enter this multi-year experience lightly, but it seems the best, perhaps the only way, to do this story justice on film.”
Linklater earned Oscar nominations for writing, producing and directing Boyhood, although he lost out in each category. Whether he’ll be able to go one better with Merrily We Roll Along, we’ll find out in a couple of decades…