Taymor, Bono, Edge Ready to Cast "Spider-Man" Web
Sep 27, 2007
"Spider-Man the Musical" is looking for a place to hang its web, reports Tony Award-winning director Julie Taymor. "We want to open in New York, and there aren't enough Broadway houses," says Taymor, adding that Bono and The Edge have finished the book and lyrics for the project. "It's really tricky because ours is a big musical that's really unusual. It will have some fabulous things in it because it's got a very strong book." She says, "I'm very proud of the songs that Bono and Edge wrote.
It's a real rock-and-roll musical, so we're not worried about that aspect. We just have to find where we're going to do it -- even if we have to do it in a tent, which we're looking into -- and when. It'll at least be a year away."
Bono is a delight in his small role of a psychedelic spiritual guru in Taymor's just released tour de force "Across the Universe" musical, a love story set in the turmoil of the '60s using The Beatles songs of that era. "He's such a funny, wonderful actor. I'd love to do something else with him," says Taymor. But it's her cast of Evan Rachel Wood and amazing relative unknowns -- including Jim Sturgess, Dana Fuchs and Martin Luther, who all did their own singing in the film -- that she's most thrilled about.
"I feel very proud of my babies," she says. "As a director, part of your real job is being able to recognize talent without people having to tell you they're stars. I also have to thank Revolution Studios and Sony for allowing me to cast unknowns. It's not a teeny-budgeted movie, and you can't really sell the movie based on Bono, Eddie Izzard and Joe Cocker because they only have small roles in it." She adds that "80 percent of the movie is sung live," which is why the soundtrack album is flying off the shelves. "The double album of 'Across the Universe' has been No. 2 for a week now," notes Taymor happily, which places the song on the charts between Kanye West and Reba McEntire.
THE SPICE OF LIFE: Talk about extremes. Sheryl Lee Ralph was called upon to go from the sublime to the ridiculous recently when she got a call from Disney and VH-1's Flava Flav all in one day. Ralph shot an upcoming guest spot on "Hannah Montana" as a snobby teacher in an episode that also features "High School Musical" star Corbin Bleu. "He is cute with that great head of hair, but his daddy is a handsome hunk of chocolate," declares Ralph about her young co-star and his actor pop, David Reivers ("Poseidon"). She found "Hannah Montana" dad Billy Ray Cyrus also "a good-looking man. I'd listen to him sing country just to look at him." She adds, "I'd also give him a new haircut, but he sure is easy on the eyes. And his daughter is a doll!"
Ralph -- who's in the midst of planning the 17th annual DIVAS Simply Singing AIDS fundraiser taking place Oct. 6 at Los Angeles's Wilshire Ebell Theater -- appeared later that night as herself on a taping of VH-1's "Flava of Love" reality show. A signed confidentiality agreement prohibits Ralph from revealing just what transpired in Flava Flav's world, but we're promised she at least shows up "in a dignified manner." Hmmm. Is that even allowed on "Flava of Love?"
THE BIG SCREEN SCENE: With her smart and richly acted "Jane Austen Book Club" widening its release tomorrow (Sept. 28), writer-director Robin Swicord doesn't know yet "whether to pick up on one of the other projects I was trying to get made or write for someone else and be home for awhile. I really loved directing. Everything about it is joyful for me," says Swicord, who put 15 years into the business before getting her filmmaking shot -- penning such films as "Memoirs of a Geisha" and "Little Women" and suffering through near-miss directing projects and numerous forms of development hell.
Now her ensemble romantic flick with Maria Bello, Amy Brenneman, Jimmy Smits, Hugh Dancy, Kathy Baker, Marc Blucas and Emily Blunt is drawing favorable response. "I don't read reviews, but it's always much nicer to feel something positive is happening around your movie than that you're struggling. It was such a little movie, everything had to fall together pretty quickly for it to work." When Lynn Redgrave joined the cast at the last minute to play Blunt's hippie mother, "It was the last piece of the puzzle -- like winning the lottery."
GIDDYUP: Professional rodeo champion Ty Murray tells us he's been enjoying getting the chance to spend some time with his girlfriend Jewel as she's been recording a country album in Nashville. "We both stay pretty involved in each other's lives. We go with each other a lot to different things. Sometimes it works out that our jobs take us to the same place," says Murray, who also finds himself in Nashville for work. "I think there's a lot more similarities in comparing my life to hers than people think."
With reports by Stephanie DuBois and Emily Feimster.
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