Baby Driver star Ansel Elgort is circling and is expected to star in Fox 2000’s upcoming musical fantasy about the collective works of Hans Christian Andersen. The currently untitled project is described as being a fantasy adventure in which Andersen becomes trapped in a world of his own imagination, as opposed to a traditional movie biopic. Fox sees the film as a potential franchise starter in the vein of Harry Potter, with a Broadway stage musical adaptation being a possibility down the road.
Andersen, of course, is the Danish storyteller most famous for writing fairy tales like The Little Mermaid, The Ugly Duckling, The Emperor’s New Clothes, and Thumbelina, among other famous works. The storyline for Fox’s movie musical brings Andersen face to face with several of his most well known creations, nearly all of which would prefer that he stay with them in their imaginary world rather than return to reality. Much in the way of singing and dancing thus follows, as they attempt to work out their differences in opinion.
According to Deadline, Elgort is currently in negotiations with Fox, but is expected to attach himself to play Mr. Andersen in the as yet untitled cinematic musical. The project features songs and music written by Stephen Schwartz of Wicked fame, with Oscar-nominee David Magee (Life of Pi) onboard to write the script. Magee is fresh off writing Disney’s upcoming musical sequel Mary Poppins Returns, while Elgort is likewise no stranger to the world of musical performance – as he demonstrated on social media last year, with his rendition of the La La Land tune “City of Stars” (see the video embedded below).
Original movie musicals have started to make a comeback of late, building off the success of the Oscar-winning La La Land. Hugh Jackman’s The Greatest Showman (a musical biopic about P.T. Barnum) has currently grossed $362 million worldwide and has hung around the top 10 at the domestic box office since its opening back in December. Universal is hoping for similar results this summer, when it releases the sequel Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again! ten years after its predecessor became a commercial smash hit.
Taking that into consideration, now could be the perfect time for Fox to launch a crowd pleasing musical fantasy that brings together several famous fairy tale characters. Disney’s big screen adaptation of Stephen Sonheim’s own iconic fairy tale mashup musical Into the Woods was a financial success just a few years ago, so that further bodes well for Fox’s Hans Christian Andersen film. Having a charismatic performer in Elgort onboard should only help the movie’s cause in that respect.
As for the real Andersen: the author would make for an interesting case study in a regular biopic, given the moral lessons of his stories, and the rumors that he was bisexual but remained celibate his entire life. It doesn’t sound like Fox’s musical fantasy will delve too deeply into that well though, as interesting as that would be to explore in a film.
We will bring you more details on the untitled Hans Christian Andersen musical as they become available.