Ryan Murphy is about to embark on his first feature film project under his new deal at Netflix, and in true Ryan Murphy fashion, this will be a major debut. The American Horror Story and Glee creator will direct and produce a feature film adaptation of the Broadway musical The Prom for Netflix, with the movie being eyed for an awards season release in 2020. And the cast he’s put together? Straight-up fire, as the kids say.
Indeed, Deadline reports that Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, James Corden, Ariana Grande, Awkwafina, Keegan-Michael Key, and Andrew Rannells are all set for key roles in The Prom, which is due to begin filming in December. The story follows four formerly famous Broadway actors who travel to the fictional conservative town of Edgewater, Indiana when they learn that a lesbian student was not allowed to bring her girlfriend to the prom. While their trip is under the guise of championing inclusivity, they’re mostly just looking for good press to make them relevant once again.
The musical premiered on Broadway in October 2018 and with music by Matthew Sklar, lyrics by Chad Beguelin, and a book by Beguelin and Bob Martin. It was nominated for six Tony awards in total, including Best Musical, and Martin and Beguelin are writing the script for the film. Streep will play Dee Dee Allen, Kidman will play Angie Dickinson, Rannells is Trent Oliver, Grande will fill the role of Alyssa, Awkwafina is publicist Ms. Sheldon, and Key will play Principal Hawkins—Streep’s love interest. In addition to co-starring, Grande will produce the soundtrack along with Murphy. A nationwide search is underway to fill the lead role of Emma, the central high school figure.
This marks the first Murphy-directed film under the uber-producer’s megadeal with Netflix. After years with Fox/FX, Murphy jumped ship in the wake of the Disney-Fox acquisition and signed a massive deal with Netflix worth $300 million to create, write, produce, and direct new TV shows, films, and documentaries.
While Murphy frequently directs episodes of his TV shows like American Crime Story, American Horror Story, and Pose, it’s been since 2014 that he was behind the camera on a feature film, and even then it was for the HBO movie The Normal Heart. With The Prom, however, Deadline notes that Netflix is planning a major awards season push next fall, including a theatrical release, so the streamer is certainly high on the film’s prospects. And with that premise, source material, and cast, why wouldn’t you be?
Murphy is currently finishing up his first original Netflix series The Politician, which stars Dear Evan Hansen lead Ben Platt and was given a two-season straight-to-series order. Murphy also has the One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest prequel series Ratched in the works at Netflix, starring Sarah Paulson, and the just-announced Netflix series Hollywood, as well as the upcoming new season of American Horror Story on FX.
So while it appears that Murphy is keeping plenty busy on the TV side of things, he’ll be returning to features in a big way next year thanks to Netflix.