Filmmaker Bill Condon (The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn) is set to rewrite the script for a planned movie musical starring Tony winner and Oscar nominee Hugh Jackman as circus showman P.T. Barnum. According to The Hollywood Reporter, The Greatest Showman on Earth will be directed by visual effects artist and commercial director Michael Gracey.
Jackman initially signed on to play the three-ring circus pioneer in The Greatest Showman on Earth in 2009, but the project stalled. Condon has been brought in by studio heads at 20th Century Fox to rework the original script by Jenny Bicks (Sex and the City). The film will follow Jackman as he becomes the iconic entertainer who went from cheap funhouses to giant three-ring circuses, which he perfected with James Bailey. Part of the film will focus on "Swedish Nightingale" Jenny Lind, the talented opera singer with whom Barnum became infatuated. No actresses have been attached to the role yet.
Condon, who wrote both 2002’s Chicago and 2006’s Dreamgirls, is also set to direct the previously announced retired Sherlock Holmes feature A Slight Trick of the Mind with Ian McKellen. Jackman earned a Tony for his Broadway debut in The Boy From Oz in 2003 and went on to star opposite Daniel Craig in the smash hit A Steady Rain. On screen, audiences are more than familiar with Jackman thanks to his iconic role as Wolverine in the X-Men franchise, as well as his Oscar-nominated turn as Jean Valjean in the 2012 movie adaptation of Les Miserables.