Tick, Tick... BOOM! Writer Steven Levenson Updates Us On His Fiddler On The Roof Remake [Exclusive]

Norman Jewison's 1971 film adaptation of the Broadway musical, "Fiddler on the Roof," celebrated its 50th anniversary this month, and there's a remake on the way, written by Steven Levenson. It's been quite a year for Levenson; first, he saw his screenplay for "Dear Evan Hansen," based on the musical he co-wrote, make it to the big screen. Now, he has another movie, the Andrew Garfield-led "Tick, Tick... Boom!" in theaters and coming to Netflix later this week.

"Tick, Tick... Boom!" has scored positive reviews, while "Dear Evan Hansen" has been on the receiving end of some negative ones. However, with "Fiddler on the Roof" marking its gold anniversary and this remake in the pipeline, /Film's Shania Russell took the opportunity to ask Levenson about it when she interviewed him for "Tick, Tick... Boom!" He said, "I've written a draft of ['Fiddler on the Roof'] and it's back in the hands of Tommy Kail, the director, figuring out casting and production. We'll see what happens with it."

When asked about transforming "Fiddler on the Roof" and if his approach with it was similar to "Tick, Tick... Boom!" Levenson said:

"The thing that was amazing about 'Tick, Tick... Boom!' is that it was so fragmented and in pieces and kind of raw material, and 'Fiddler on the Roof' is a little bit the opposite. I mean, it is just so perfectly constructed as a stage musical. Even in re-looking at it, I realized how much of that show was just seared indelibly in my mind in a way that I didn't even realize. I know lines by heart that I had no idea... I don't even know why I know them by heart, but I do."

'Preserving What Is Amazing'

Levenson spoke further about his approach to "Fiddler on the Roof," saying:

"It's been a lot about preserving what is amazing about it and preserving the things that we love about it, and also trying to bring out what can be cinematic about it and what can really expand the scope of it, and really figuring out how to make it a film. Which was something that I was really excited about, was how can we turn this into a film that is not different from what it is at its essence. But I think even the questions that it asks now, just hearing them, we hear them in a different way than we did in the '70s or in the '60s. It all feels a little different."

Hearing him mention the '60s brings to mind Steven Spielberg's "West Side Story," which is coming to theaters this December and which itself a remake of a 1961 film. Like "West Side Story," "Fiddler on the Roof" had the most Oscar nominations of any film its year. Between these titles and "In the Heights," it feels like movie musicals are making a comeback in 2021.

For its part, "Tick, Tick... Boom!" is based on the semi-autobiographical musical by Jonathan Larson, the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and composer behind "Rent," who died at the age of 35. Levenson also co-developed the FX miniseries "Fosse/Verdon," based on a biography of Bob Fosse, the director of "Cabaret."

"Tick, Tick... Boom!" dances onto Netflix on November 19, 2021.