Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Ryan Gosling set to produce Busby Berkeley biopic

Director. Choreographer. Creator of elaborate musical numbers. If the name Busby Berkeley conjures up imagery of classic Hollywood, top hats, costumes and a kaleidoscope of whirling dancers, then you're not alone. One man looking to bring the flamboyant silver screen icon to modern audiences is Ryan Gosling, who is set to produce and potentially star in the biopic as the man himself.

The Drive (2011) and Only God Forgives (2013) star is partnering with producer Marc Platt (Wanted) and Warner Bros to option Jeffrey Spivak's book about Berkeley, Buzz: The Life And Art Of Busby Berkeley. Gosling is initially overseeing development simply as one of the producers, but he has an eye on both the lead, and if everything works out, the director's chair.

Berkeley made his name on films such as 42nd Street (1933), Dames (1934), Gold Diggers Of 1933 (1933) and Hollywood Hotel (1937). He also choreographed the Scarecrow's routine in The Wizard Of Oz (1939). But his life extended far beyond that, with a stint in the army during World War I and a long career that spanned from the 1920s into the 1950s.

"In an era of breadlines, depression and wars," Berkeley once said, "I tried to help people get away from all the misery... to turn their minds to something else. I wanted to make people happy, if only for an hour."

Platt too has a successful history in musicals. He produced Broadway's box office shattering Wicked and is currently working on Disney's adaptation of the Broadway musical Into the Woods, due out in December. He also produced Legally Blonde (2001), which was later turned into a Broadway musical.

Gosling and his collaborators are about to start meeting writers to work on the project. As well as appearing in one of Terrence Malick's currently untitled new projects, he recently made his directorial debut with How To Catch A Monster, which should hit screens later this year.

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