There are certain properties movie studios don’t blink an eye in pushing through the production factory — “Oh, Peter Jackson wants to make a new Lord of the Rings movie? Where is my checkbook?” — but then there are ideas that take a little more convincing. For that, there is the American Film Market, an annual circus where producers, directors, and actors announce potential projects and let the people with money buy in.
One such project, unveiled courtesy of the AFM website, is an adaptation of the Off-Broadway musical hit The Last 5 Years planned by Richard LaGravenese (screenwriter behind Water for Elephants and director of the upcoming Beautiful Creatures), with Anna Kendrick reportedly attached to star. The actress, who broke out in her early days on Broadway, has had no shortage of work in recent years: she earned an Oscar nomination in 2009’s Up in the Air, costarred in the Twilight series, and recently showed off her singing chops in Pitch Perfect.
Written by Jason Robert Brown, The Last 5 Years takes an unconventional approach to the stage musical, making it a tricky show to adapt to screen. The show follows the lifespan of a relationship from the points of view of both the man, Jamie (from the beginning to the end) and the woman, Cathy (starting at the end and tracking back to the beginning). Kendrick will play Cathy, a struggling singer who falls for up-and-coming author Jamie. No song and dance showstoppers here — The Last 5 Years is closer to a play of monologues than a typical musical.
Kendrick’s musical background makes her a solid fit for the unique adaptation, and an enticing part of the package for a film that will need a stylistic touch to stay true to the original material. Much like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind or Memento, the show fluidly moves between moments in time, and operates without the type of moving parts that make movie musicals big and showy. LaGravenese has a tough nut to crack, but as AFM has proved in the past, the challenge may be part of the appeal. Whoever comes on board to back the film will give Kendrick one of the meatier parts in her career.
Below, see original cast member Sherie Rene Scott performing the number “Goodbye Until Tomorrow” from the show. Is Kendrick right for the part?
Follow Matt Patches on Twitter @misterpatches
[Photo Credit: Starbux/WENN]
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