Joel and Ethan Coen, the quirky art-house film team behind such highly stylized works as "Fargo" and "O Brother, Where Art Thou?," will produce a movie musical called "Romance and Cigarettes," Variety reported. Actor John Turturro has written the film.
According to the trade daily, among the actors being sought for the flick are Steve Buscemi, James Gandolfani, Susan Sarandon, Julia Stiles, Christopher Walken and Aida Turturro. The piece is described as "'Pennies from Heaven' meets 'The Honeymooners.'" The "Honeymooners" part would apparently come from the story's setting, Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. Like "Pennies from Heaven," the experimental Steve Martin-Bernadette Peters film, "Romance" would not feature an original score but boast a collection of different extant songs.
Walken has a song and dance background and actually appeared in "Pennies from Heaven," in which he displayed those skills. Stiles is currently playing Viola in Central Park's Twelfth Night. Turturro occasionally graces the stage, usually at Off Broadway's CSC where he has starred in The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui and Waiting for Godot.
With the popular "Moulin Rouge," film director Baz Luhrmann has helped revitalize the previously moribund movie musical genre.
—By Robert Simonson