Aaron Sorkin Writing Harry Houdini Musical Biopic Starring Hugh Jackman

     November 2, 2010


In lieu of the midterm elections today, it’s only fitting that we bring you this bit of news regarding The West Wing creator Aaron Sorkin.  Hot off the success of The Social Network screenwriter/playwright Sorkin is now working on a Broadway musical based upon the life of Harry Houdini.  The project has been in the works for a while, with composer Danny Elfman at the helm of the music.  Back in 2008 Elfman told us that he was working on his 5th or 6th song at the time, but that it’s a long process.  EW’s PopWatch reports that Hugh Jackman will star as the famed escape artist, with lyricist Glenn Slater (stage version of The Little Mermaid) and Tony Award-winning director Jack O’Brien (Hairspray, Henry IV) also attached to the project.

Elfman described the project back in 2008 as a bit manic, sad, and a little dark.  He tells EW that Sorkin is “writing away, and we all have high hopes that Aaron’s going to come through and do some good stuff”. Sorkin himself is no stranger to the stage, as he graduated college with a degree in Musical Theater and went on to write a little play called A Few Good Men, as well as 2007’s The Farnsworth Invention. For more on the project, including when it’s expected to hit Broadway, hit the jump.

After Sorkin’s finished writing the book (a book is the script of words spoken in a musical), there will be a reading in January.  After that, Elfman expects that the show could debut as early as 2012.  However, both Sorkin and Jackman will be very busy men in the coming months.  Sorkin is also writing a film adaptation of the book The Politician, based upon the John Edwards scandal.  He’ll be making his directing debut on that project as well.  In addition, he has a new television series in the works.  No word yet on the plot or what network it will be on, but he has said that it is the third in what will be a trilogy of TV shows he’s created that take place behind the scenes of TV shows (the previous two being Sports Night and Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip).  He told us that an announcement regarding the new series is expected soon.  Jackman is of course gearing up to star in the Darren Aronofsky-directed Wolverine 2.

Personally, I think this project sounds fantastic.  If you’re a fan of Sorkin’s previous works, you know he’s a fan of scattering musical theater references around whenever he can.  Jackman is no stranger to Broadway himself, winning a Tony award for his starring role in The Boy from Oz, and Elfman always finds a way to surprise me with each of his subsequent film scores.  Fingers crossed this project makes it all the way to the old Broadway. Now, go make Sam Seaborn proud and vote!


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