Mendes and Scamp Announce Plans Including Sweeney Todd Movie and Shrek: The Musical

News   Mendes and Scamp Announce Plans Including Sweeney Todd Movie and Shrek: The Musical
A busy production slate has been announced by Scamp, the new production company run by Sam Mendes, Caro Newling and Pippa Harris. Newling was executive producer at the Donmar Warehouse when Mendes was its artistic director. Harris, who runs the company’s film division, is a former head of drama commissioning at the BBC.

Sam Mendes
Sam Mendes Photo by Aubrey Reuben

The film projects include a big-screen adaptation of Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd. No casting is announced as yet, but the adaptation will be by John Logan, who wrote the Tom Cruise movie “The Last Samurai.” The film is likely to have good money behind it, since Scamp has a first-look deal with Hollywood major DreamWorks Pictures (for whom Mendes delivered the hit “American Beauty”).

The company’s stage plans include the U.K. premiere of David Lindsay Abaire’s Off-Broadway hit Fuddy Meers. Set to be directed by Angus Jackson (who directed the National Theatre’s successful staging of Elmina’s Kitchen), it tells the story of a woman to wakes up every morning having forgotten what happened before it. Julia McKenzie is reportedly to star, and the show will start at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre in spring 2004, before a West End transfer.

Scenes From the Big Picture playwright Owen McCafferty has been commissioned to write a new version of J. P. Miller’s Days of Wine and Roses (most famous as the 1962 film starring Jack Lemmon and Lee Remick). Ed Hall will direct a London revival of Howard Brenton and David Hare’s satire on the newspaper industry, Pravda. Nick Whitby (who wrote To the Green Fields and Beyond) will pen a stage adaptation of the 1942 movie “To Be or Not To Be” (remade by Mel Brooks in 1983) — about a company of actors who have to use their talents to outwit the Nazis.

And, there are further plans for Katie Mitchell to direct Macbeth, a first London production of Nilo Cruz’s Pulitzer Prize-winning 2003 play Anna in the Tropics, and a new play to be written by Heidi Thomas about the last months of Russia’s Nicholas II and his family.

New York will feature heavily in Scamp’s future, with Mendes and Newling continuing the close association with the Brooklyn Academy of Music that saw Mendes’s productions of Uncle Vanya and Twelfth Night take up residence there in 2003. And there’ll be a big stage musical production of the DreamWorks' hit animated film Shrek. Whether the tale of the jolly green monster will be unveiled in London or New York isn’t yet known, nor is a date. But although work has started, it won’t be before 2005.

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