It was announced more than a year ago that Ives (Venus in Fur, All in the Timing) is serving as librettist for Tony winner Sondheim's new musical based on two renowned films by the Spanish director Luis Buñuel, “The Exterminating Angel” and “The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie.”
Ives, who is at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater working on his adaptation of The Heir Apparent, the 17th-century farce by French writer Jean-Francois Regnard, said that working with Sondheim is "rather like Verdi or Mozart calling me up at 7:30 each night and I tell Mozart 'sure,' and then he sings to me each night."
Ives said, "He also keeps apologizing that his hands are not what they used to be."
Ives added, "You get in a room with a genius like Steve and it's also exactly like working with anyone else. He is really no different from all the other people in the theater. He loves to be amused."
The Public Theater and Scott Rudin are attached to the project as producers. Public Theater artistic director Oskar Eustis said in a 2014 statement on the show, "We will do it whenever Steve tells us to. The movies are two of Buñuel's most brilliant films, and what I adore about them – and what I think Steve and David responded to – are that they are masterpieces of surrealism and masterpieces of political commentary." Sondheim's most recent musical Road Show (2008) was also produced by the Public Theater. Sondheim turned 85 this year and recently received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama.
Sondheim has not spoken in depth in public about the project, but told the New York Times last year that "the idea has been with [him] for many years."