October 22, 2009

Is 'Precious' director Lee Daniels going to 'Saigon' for his next film?

Seems like it could be, according to this in Variety:

In what would be her first film producing project since leaving the CEO slot at United Artists in 2008, Paula Wagner is mobilizing a screen version of “Miss Saigon” as a directing vehicle for Lee Daniels.

Daniels, who has drawn festival acclaim for “Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire,” has alluded to the possibility in red carpet interviews, but his reps say it’s one of several possible next projects. And movie transfers of big musicals are tough to pull off.

Still, Wagner is moving quickly under her newly formed Chestnut Ridge Productions banner.

She will produce the film with Cameron Mackintosh, who produced the original Broadway musical.

A screenwriter is about to be set, and financing discussions are underway with an eye toward getting the film into production next year for 2011 release, sources said.

The movie will be faithful to Claude-Michel Schonberg and Alain Boublil’s tale of the tragic love story of a Vietnamese bar girl and an American soldier before the fall of Saigon in 1975. “Miss Saigon,” which opened on the West End in 1989 and played on Broadway for nearly ten years, has been performed in 25 countries.

Wagner was Tom Cruise’s longtime CAA agent before becoming his partner in Cruise/Wagner Productions. After producing the “Mission: Impossible” trilogy and other films, they agreed to steer UA for ex-MGM topper Harry Sloan.

Wagner is separately developing a stage musical about the rise of hip-hop pioneers Run-DMC.


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