That Hugh Jackman PT Barnum Musical Is Still Happening

Hugh Jackman

For several years now, Hugh Jackman has been attached to star in the P.T. Barnum biopic The Greatest Showman on Earth. As a matter of fact, he’s been attached so long we almost forgot it was happening at all. But Jackman hasn’t, and now it looks like it’s finally getting back on track.

The live-action movie musical is now on track for a summer start. Michael Gracey is directing from a script by Bill Condon. Hit the jump for more on the Hugh Jackman PT Barnum movie.

Deadline reports Fox is currently setting a budget for The Greatest Showman on Earth, with hopes of shooting next summer in New York. Jenny Bicks (The Big C) wrote the original script. Gracey boarded in 2011, and Condon was brought on in 2013 to rewrite the script. Jordon Roberts (Big Hero 6) contributed an early draft as well. Bonnie McKee, Jake Shear, Brian Lapin, Justin Paul, and Benz Pasek wrote the original songs.

Jackman was originally cast in the role all the way back in 2009. While we’ve had periodic updates since then, the project was put on the back burner while Jackman worked on stuff like the X-Men movies and Les Misérables. Apparently Fox is still feeling a bit iffy about the project, but they’ve got a proven draw in Jackman. And frankly, they owe him a favor for sticking with the X-Men franchise this long.

At the same time, it’s no wonder the studio was hesitating. Original live-action musicals of the classic “sing your feelings” variety are a rarity in Hollywood right now. More commonly, we get adaptations of Broadway hits (Les Misérables, Jersey Boys) or movies that incorporate musical numbers because they’re about musicians (Inside Llewyn Davis, Pitch Perfect). But if you’re going to make one, getting Hugh Jackman to star seems like a great start.

The Greatest Showman on Earth follows the American huckster through his invention of the three-ring circus. The story will also focus on his infatuation with singer Jenny Lind, known as the “Swedish Nightingale.” Anne Hathaway was being eyed for that role way back when, but it’s unclear if that’s still the case.

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