After finding great success with Hamilton last month, Disney+ is looking to make another musical of their own.
A live-action film adaptation of the one-act Broadway musical Once on This Island is in the works at Disney+. Described as a calypso-flavored re-telling of The Little Mermaid, the story set in the Caribbean’s French Antilles focuses on a peasant girl who falls in love with an aristocrat, but of course the romance defies all of the social norms and is threatened at every turn.
Entertainment Weekly reported the news of a Once on This Island movie in the works at Disney+. Aside from the main story of the romance, there’s also a wager between the island’s gods surrounding it as they argue whether love is stronger than death. As the class-conscious love story plays out, we come to see whether the power of love can overcome the fear of death, all while cultural walls are torn down in the name of romance.
The original musical began off-Broadway in May of 1990. It made the jump to Broadway in October that same year, running for 469 performances and 19 previews. However, a recent revival of the musical was staged in 2017, and it went on to win the Tony Award for Best Revival and received plenty of critical acclaim during its run. The show closed in January last year, but the revival began touring last fall. Unfortunately, it was cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic, but hopefully it will resume at some point.
Writing the adaptation of Once on This Island will be Jocelyn Bioh (She’s Gotta Have It, Russian Doll). Filmmaker Wanuri Kahiu, who famously took his LGBTQ film Rafiki to the Cannes Film Festival despite it being banned by his home country of Kenya, will direct. That sounds like the perfect filmmaker to tackle a musical about tearing down the norms of society. Marc Platt (La La Land) will be producing.
This will be a full-on musical movie, unlike Hamilton, which was just a live recording of the stage musical. However, it would be cool to see Disney+ add a recorded version of the stage production to their library as well, especially with all the awards and critical acclaim the revival received over the past couple years.
If you’d like a taste of what the musical was like, take a look at this performance from the 2018 Tony Awards:
There’s no indication when this production might get off the ground, so stay tuned for more.
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