director Antoine Fuqua is best known for action films and crime novels such as Training Day, Shooter, Olympus Has Fallen, The Magnificent Seven, and The Equalizer. But soon he’ll be heading into prestige drama territory with a new adaptation of Cat on a hot tin roof, based on the classic Pulitzer Prize-winning piece from Tennessee Williams. And we already have a good idea of how that attitude to history will change.
Variety got the news that Antoine Fuqua is staging a cat on a Hot Tin Roof remake. The play was turned into a film back in 1958, directed by Richard Brooks and starring Paul Newman and Elizabeth Taylor. The classic was nominated for six Oscar awards, including “Best Picture”, “Best Director”, “Best Actor”, “Best Actress”, “Best Screenplay” and “Best Cinematography”. However, this new version is likely to follow in the footsteps of a recent 2008 revival of the piece.
If you’re unfamiliar with the play or film, here’s the official round-up:
After Brick Pollitt (Paul Newman) injured himself while revisiting his high school sports star days drunk, he and his stormy wife Maggie (Elizabeth Taylor) visit the Mississippi for the 65th birthday of his heated father Big Daddy His family plantation (Burl Ives). Big Daddy wants to know why Brick and Maggie, unlike Bricks brother Gooper (Jack Carson) and his fertile wife Mae (Madeleine Sherwood), have not yet given him a grandchild.
In 2008 producers Stephen C. Byrd and Alia Jones-Harvey brought Cat on a Hot Tin Roof back to the stage as the first all-black production on Broadway. It sold out for 19 weeks and became the highest-earning game for the season. This new large screen version is likely to use a predominantly black cast to breathe new life into the fresh version of the story, which “combines elements of the play with new storylines and weaves them together to bring the production to the screen”.
The 2008 stage play featured the talents of Terrence Howard, Anika Noni Rose, Phylicia Rashad and James Earl Jones, but it’s not clear if Fuqua will attempt to include one of the cast members in this new adaptation. But he will produce the film with the Stephen C. Byrd and Alia Jones-Harvey stage show team. Fuqua said in a statement:
“It’s an honor to bring such a historic production to screen and I’m really excited to have it alongside Stephen and Alia. They have shown their commitment to the project with two successful productions on Broadway and in the West End and they know what it takes to translate this iconic drama from theater to cinema. “
Byrd and Jones-Harvey have a lot of experience in stage production, including with A Streetcar Named Desire, Smokey Joes Cafe and Ain’t Too Proud. They also have musicals about Bob Marley and Michael Jackson in the works, but this will be the first film production they’ve tackled.
The inclusion of such a classic story is associated with a lot of pressure, especially since this is the first drama of its kind that Antoine Fuqua has directed. But the filmmaker knows how to create award-winning drama along with stylish action. Hopefully this is worth our time.
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