A new musical version of A Christmas Carol is in the works and rumor has it they are rushing the project.
First announced last fall by Hollywood Reporter the project is slated to headline with Will Farrell (of Elf fame) and Ryan Reynolds.
Some sources have confirmed that the screenplay will be written by John Morris and the musical will be directed by Sean Anders.
Oscar-winning songwriter Stephen Schwartz will be writing the music for the film. He has won Oscars for original song and original score for Pocahontas, and original song for The Prince of Egypt.
Given the relative talent levels of Farrell and Reynolds we assume their musical parts will be lip synched.
We would note with great skepticism that this project has little chance of impressing. Since George C. Scott last played Scrooge there has not been a serious adaptation of A Christmas Carol made.
Last year, BBC released a three-part series based on A Christmas Carol produced by Ridley Scott’s Scott Free, Tom Hardy’s Hardy Son & Baker, and FX Productions. The television adaptation starred Guy Pearce as Ebenezer Scrooge, Andy Serkis as Ghost of Christmas Past, Rutger Hauer as the Ghost of Christmas Future and Stephen Graham as Jacob Marley along with Charlotte Riley as Lottie, Joe Alwyn as Bob Cratchit, Vinette Robinson as Mary Cratchit, Kayvan Novak as Ali Baba, and Lenny Rush as Tim Cratchit.
While it received some critical notice for its gritty nature Christmas fans eschewed it due to its profanity. No doubt the f-bomb was around in the days of Dickens there is little proof that the word was actually used on the level of this BBN production. Most fans gave it a hearty thumbs down.
It is not the first time a remake of A Christmas Carol has bombed. A dark comedic version called Scrooged starring Bill Murray from 1988 bombed at the box office, though it has enjoyed some cult-like popularity since the late-90s for its rough humor and dark special effects. (There’s rumors that Scrooged is being remade too — this time with Keven Hart).
An animated version starring Jim Carrey from Robert Zemekis and Disney in 2009 likewise has failed to enjoy the sparkle of other versions of the classic story. Fans say it’s too much Jim Carrey and not enough Charles Dickens.
There has been a musical version of A Christmas Carol put out before, a 1970s era critically acclaimed hit titled Scrooge that starred Albert Finney. Unlike older versions of A Christmas Carol dating from the 1930s to the 1950s this one was panned by some back in the day for its depiction of Scrooge in hell.
The lone exception in the modern retelling of A Christmas Carol comes from the 1992 version — also musical — from the Muppets. That film production has not only held up it has achieved “classic” status by many Christmas film enthusiasts.