Five Films For The Theatre

As When Harry Met Sally makes its way to the stage, looks at what other films are worthy of transition to theatre.

The classic romantic comedy When Harry Met Sally soon makes its transition into legitimate theatre thanks to a new stage adaptation. It joins other successful transfers of the past few years including Billy Elliot, Spamalot and The Shawshank Redemption. This has got us thinking about what other movies could make it big in theatreland – here are five we’d like to see.

1. All About Eve

The best place to look for screen to stage crossover is surely the golden age of Hollywood – when great scripts were valued above tricky CGI. The joy of All About Eve is the dialogue – some of the sharpest to come from the pen of the brilliant Joseph L. Makievicz. Like the Oscar Wilde productions that still dominate Irish theatres, All About Eve has some great roles for women, including the acerbic veteran actress Margo and Eve, the seemingly sweet but ruthless wannabe.

2. Platoon

For a lot of movie fans the theatre can seem sort of dull. If there’s one thing that’s definitely missing it’s napalm – and lots of it. This may sound like a difficult cross over but who says war epics can’t be put on stage? Max Fisher managed to do it in Rushmore (with earplugs and safety masks provided for the audience)! So why not the classic Vietnam flick Platoon? It’s got big moral lessons plus lashings of mud and blood – a mix that would certainly get the adrenaline rising in the Abbey Theatre!

3. Step Up 2: The Streets

We think we’re definitely onto a money spinner with this one. Street dance seems to be everywhere these days and has well and truly crossed over into mainstream culture with everybody from tiny kids to old folks aware of the phenomenon. Just as with the film, the story is pretty unimportant (girl from the wrong side of the tracks has to go to prestigious dance school etc. etc….) this one would be all about the spectacular dance pieces. The rain-soaked finale would be particularly memorable on stage. A ready-made musical theatre phenomenon!

4. Evil Dead

The potential to scare the pants off the audience is something usually forgotten by theatre producers; as is the potential to splatter the front rows with blood and guts! We think this is a great shame really. The live, up close and personal nature of theatre is perfect for horror and Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead would make for a great stage play! It’s got a simple set (creepy cabin in the woods), easily replicated effects and a small cast. Plus for those more delicate members of the audience there is a smattering of black comedy amongst the creepier elements of the plot. Perfect!

5. The Jerk

Turning a straight movie into a musical is good business – our pick for this tactic is Steve Martin’s The Jerk. Funny, quotable and silly enough to be able to withstand the addition of a few well placed musical numbers, this could be a big hit (just as long as Ben Elton isn’t in charge of lyrics…). The biggest challenge would be filling Martin’s shoes but if they found the right guy, we’d be first in line for this one!