Oscar Nominee Lee Daniels Eyes The Scottsboro Boys for Film Adaptation
By Adam Hetrick
A film adaptation of the racially charged Kander and Ebb musical The Scottsboro Boys could be on the horizon for Academy Award-nominated "Precious" director Lee Daniels.
Deadline.com reports that Daniels is in early conversations to develop the Alabama-set stage property about nine black teenagers, who were wrongly accused and convicted for allegedly raping two white women in the 1930's.
Tony Award-winning Scottsboro Boys director and choreographer Susan Stroman will reportedly executive produce the film, which will also enlist Broadway producer Barry Weissler as part of the team.
A member of the production told Playbill.com that Daniels had seen the Broadway run of The Scottsboro Boys six or seven times and is also courting The Color Purple producer and talk-show host Oprah Winfrey to become involved in the project. Academy and Tony Award-winning actor Denzel Washington also attended the production at Lee's suggestion.
A representative for The Scottsboro Boys had no statement regarding the film project.
Though critics praised the daring musical, which marks one of the last collaborations between Broadway duo John Kander and Fred Ebb, The Scottsboro Boys will end its Broadway run Dec. 12 after 49 performances and 29 previews.
The Scottsboro Boys has a libretto by David Thompson, music by Kander and lyrics by the late Ebb. The collaborators use the theatrical form of a minstrel show to examine the flashpoint in American Civil Rights history and make it sing, dance and sting.
A film adaptation of The Scottsboro Boys could be an ideal addition to Kander and Ebb stage musicals to have made the leap to the big screen. Both Cabaret and Chicago employ showbiz techniques to uniquely explore politics, prejudice, exploitation and a corrupt judicial system.
Daniels was previously announced to also be at work on a film adaptation of Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil's epic Vietnam musical Miss Saigon.
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