"Bye Bye Birdie" to Have "Urban, Hip-Hop Feel"; Director and Writer Named

News   "Bye Bye Birdie" to Have "Urban, Hip-Hop Feel"; Director and Writer Named A writer and director have been announced for the film remake of "Bye Bye Birdie."

Produced by Columbia Pictures and Red Wagon Productions, "Birdie" will be directed by 23-year-old Jon Chu, who will be making his feature debut with the film. According to Variety, Chu's treatment for the motion picture will employ a "contempo[rary] setting with an urban, hip-hop feel." The industry paper also reports that writer-producer Stuart Blumberg will pen this adaptation of the musical. Bye Bye Birdie — about a rock star who travels to Ohio to bid farewell to his biggest fan before being drafted — debuted on Broadway in 1960 with a cast led by Chita Rivera, Dick Van Dyke, Dick Gautier, Paul Lynde, Kay Medford, Michael J. Pollard, Susan Watson and Jessica Albright. The subsequent 1963 feature film starred Janet Leigh, Van Dyke, Ann Margret, Maureen Stapleton, Bobby Rydell, Jesse Pearson and Lynde. More recently, a 1995 telefilm directed by Gene Saks cast Jason Alexander, Vanessa Williams, Chynna Phillips, Tyne Daly, Marc Kudisch, George Wendt and Sally Mayes in the lead roles.

Writer Blumberg penned the Edward Norton film "Keeping the Faith" as well as the upcoming "The Girl Next Door," about a teenager who falls in love with his porn-star neighbor. Blumberg is currently writing and producing a remake of the 1971 film "Straw Dogs," entitled "Fear Itself."

A filmmaker from the USC School of Cinema-Television, Jon Chu is the recipient of the National Cary Grant Film Award, the Dore Schary Award, the Virgin Records music video award and the Jack Nicholson directing award.