Everyone knows the story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the title characters from Robert Louis Stevenson’s 1886 novella The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. But how many are familiar with the musical version of this classic gothic horror tale?
Now, audiences will get to know the characters in a whole new way thanks to a planned big-screen adaptation of the 1997 Jekyll & Hyde Broadway musical.
THR reports that Alexander Dinelaris, the Academy Award-winning screenwriter of 2014’s Birdman, will write the film adaptation and produce it along with Rob Quadrino under their New York-based development company, Lexicon.
This is not Dinelaris’s first foray into musical territory. The writer, who co-produced the award-winning film The Revenant starring Leonardo DiCaprio, wrote the book (the “script” in musical theater) for On Your Feet!, the Tony-nominated Broadway musical based on the life and music of Gloria and Emilio Estefan.
The Jekyll & Hyde musical, which was loosely based on Stevenson’s work, was adapted for the stage as a horror-drama by Frank Wildhorn and Steve Cuden. Wildhorn did the music and co-wrote the lyrics along with Cuden and Leslie Bricusse, the latter of whom also wrote the book. The production played well to audiences on the Great White Way and went on to stages across four continents, in 28 countries, reportedly grossing close to $1 billion.
“Bringing the gritty potential of Leslie and Frank’s stirring gothic musical to the big screen made Jekyll & Hyde the perfect project to launch Lexicon, which is focused on character-driven, muscular storytelling,” Dinelaris said.
In a joint statement, Wildhorn and Bricusse said they are “absolutely thrilled” that their musical will be adapted into a motion picture.
No word yet on when the film adaptation will hit theaters, but we’ll be keeping an eye out for this one.
Being a native New Yorker, I’ve been to my fair share of Broadway productions and wouldn’t you know it, I actually saw Jekyll & Hyde several times, once with former Skid Row vocalist Sebastian Bach in the lead. That was pretty cool and his heavy metal stage presence suited the dual role nicely, especially during those Mr. Hyde transformations.
But who will fill the lead role on the big screen? Well, here’s my guess: Hugh Jackson. Jackson is 50 years old, the same age as Dr. Jekyll in Stevenson’s original story. Plus, not only is he a top-tier film star already well-known for his gruff Wolverine character in the X-Men film franchise, but he’s also a Tony Award winner (for the 2004 musical The Boy from Oz) with a lot of musical theater experience.
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