Pippin has magic to do on the big screen, and director James Ponsoldt is hard at work on a newly imagined film adaptation. The director (whose film The Spectacular Now is currently in theaters) has never helmed a movie musical, but he told Collider.com why he’s the right man to bring Stephen Schwartz and Roger O. Hirson’s Tony-winning musical to life on screen. No filming or release dates for the movie have been set.
“In many ways, I think I’m a good person for it,” Ponsoldt said of the forthcoming film. “I mean, I’m not a musical theater dude. Or rather, I don’t watch everything, and love everything, and have every album.” But what Ponsoldt loves about Pippin is that it’s more “absurdist, episodic” and “irreverent” than darker musical fare like Chicago, also directed onstage by Bob Fosse. “The tone [of Pippin] is like The Princess Bride or Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” Ponsoldt told Collider. “At its core, [Pippin] is a coming-of-age story about a guy who’s 22 and wants to live an extraordinary life, but can’t even figure out what that means and how to make himself happy. “
Ponsoldt is the writer and director of Smashed and Off the Black, as well as the director of The Spectacular Now. He also co-directed We Saw Such Things. His short film writing and directing credits include Coming Down the Mountain and Junebug and Hurricane.
The Tony-winning revival of Pippin, directed by Diane Paulus, is currently playing at the Music Box Theatre. The production stars Tony winner Patina Miller, Matthew James Thomas and Tony winner Andrea Martin.