It has taken Lee and his collaborators time to secure the rights. "It's taken about two years. We almost gave up, but there was always that one licence to go after." Lee estimates a further two years development time to bring it to the stage. Lee is working on writing the lyrics first before handing them over to Elton John to set to music.
"Having worked with him on Billy Elliot, I know that Elton likes to have the lyrics done and have them in front of him so I'll work on a batch before I give him anything to look at. I would think it's going to take about two years before it's all ready to go."
Orwell's allegorical novel about the Stalin era before the Second World War was first published in 1945, and revolves around the corruption of the revolution by its leaders.