Silence Is Golden As Michel Hazanaviciuss OscarWinning Film ‘The Artist Is Developed Into A Stage Show

Silence Is Golden As Michel Hazanaviciuss OscarWinning Film ‘The Artist Is Developed Into A Stage Show

EXCLUSIVE: Choreographer and director Drew McConnie ("The Greatest Days ") is developing a theatrical version of Michel Hazanavicius ' 2011 Academy Award-winning film about a Hollywood silent film star whose career has evolved since the advent of sound films.

Maconie told Deadline that he's been writing the stage adaptation with playwright and playwright Lindsey Ferentino ( Amy and the Orphans ). He would direct and choreograph the show, something he had longed to do since he first saw the movie.

A series of workshops to be held in London at the end of January and beginning of February will determine the rest of the show. Production is hoped to begin in late 2023, though McOnie insisted "we're not going to shut down" until he and his team are happy with the show's development.

Hazanavicius was a black-and-white homage to Hollywood's early golden age. Jean Dujardin won the Best Actor Oscar for his role as fictional idol Georges Valentine, who doesn't accept that theater has found a new way to communicate with its audience. Berenice Bejo played Peppy Miller, an aspiring actress whose career is encouraged by Valentine.

The film won a total of five Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director. She has also won two BAFTA and Golden Globe awards. In a statement released by McOnie, Hazanavicius said he was "deeply touched that my film has inspired other artists to pitch for it".

McOnie's production studio, The McOnie Company, acquired the directing rights from The Artist after he first met Hazanavicius in Paris. McOnie and Georgia Gatti, executive producers of The McOnie Company, then signed the contract with art producer Thomas Langmann and production company La Petite Reine. “They held the rights to the theatre, which meant we weren't dealing with a big movie studio. We're in an intimate setting and not a big scary place,” said Makoni.

McConie explained that Hazanavicius was more interested in why McConie was doing the movie "than I would have done him," he said.

Jean Dujardin in The Artist. Photo: Peter Iovino 2011, © The Weinstein Company / courtesy Everett Collection

He added that the director was "very confident" that "no instructions were given" and that Hazanavicius had given him freedom to develop, direct and design the production. “Michel was very generous,” Maconie told us.

He added, "We're totally busy creating a staging adaptation of this silent film and we're going to use all the different storytelling tools to give the audience that imaginative journey," noting "the delicate tools needed for an excellent musical….. Ballets and grand plays are used to trace the journey from an era Silent films to talking films.

Makoni said it was too early to discuss what music would be used in the show. "We'll figure out exactly how to use music," he said. "It's not going to be the same as what was used in the movie. There are a lot of possibilities and the workshops will show us what works and what doesn't."

He added, "Remember we're moving from the silent movie era to the MGM soundtrack era." "We're looking for fun and exciting ways to use sound."

Although the workshops are being held in London, McOnie said the show's first original production could take place in the UK, France or the US. He said the show would target an international audience because "visual storytelling through dance means that the language barrier will be minimal".

McOnie has worked on numerous projects over the past decade, including the Broadway show King Kong , and his company has put together a stunning reimagining of Jekyll and Hyde at London's Old Vic. He has also choreographed a musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice for the Regent's Park Open Air Theater in London which is currently touring North America. Another show he choreographed, Bugsy Malone The Musical , will be performed at Alexandra Palace in London from next month.

McOnie also created incredible dance sequences for director Coky Giedroyc's next film, Greatest Days , set to the music of pop group Take That.

The cast of The Artist will be released this week in the US, UK and France.

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The Artist – Behind the Scenes – Silent Film (2011) HD

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