Richard LaGravenese, one of Hollywood's top screenwriters, is penning a book to a new stage musical version of the 1941 screwball comedy classic, "Ball of Fire." Barry and Fran Weissler are behind the project. The producing couple told Variety that a composer and lyricist would be announced at a later date. "Ball of Fire" starred Barbara Stanwyck as Sugerpuss O'Shea, a burlesque dancer and moll to gangster Dana Andrews. When O'Shea's testimony could put Andrews in jail, she takes refuge in the ivory tower of an octet of sheltered lexicographers who are working on a mammoth dictionary and soon become fascinated with O'Shea's way with slang. The youngest of these eggheads is Prof. Bertram Potts, played by Gary Cooper. Inevitably, a romance blossoms between the owl and the pussycat. Howard Hawks directed.
LaGravenese has penned or contributed to such films as "The Fisher King," "The Bridges of Madison County," "The Horse Whisperer," "Living Out Loud" and "Erin Brokovich." He also directed "Living Out Loud."
—By Robert Simonson