Up until about six months ago, the idea of pushing a completely original live-action movie musical with new songs on the public seemed like a brazen bet. But then a little movie called La La Land made it instant box office and award gold. This is serendipitous for Hugh Jackman who, fresh off his Logan swan song, also just wrapped The Greatest Showman – a completely original movie musical with new songs, no less.
And we are getting our first glimpse, compliments of Entertainment Weekly, who has released the first images of the musical which is loosely based on the life of P.T. Barnum, the most famous circus man in history. All of the images showcase the 19th century spectacle with Jackman as Barnum, Michelle Williams as Barnum’s wife Charity, Zac Efron as his business partner, and Zendaya as a beguiling trapeze artist.
The picture certainly has a heightened and more grandiose look than last year’s toe-tapper, even as the songs are all written by Benji Pasek and Justin Paul, who provided the lyrics to La La Land’s numbers (the music for those was written by Justin Hurwitz). Additionally, Jackman and first-time features director Michael Gracey chatted with EW, indicating their wish for it to be bursting with modernity. There seems to be a Baz Luhrmann influence on the picture as his Moulin Rouge! was also set in the 1800s but basked in modern pop songs, albeit previously successful ones.
“We were clear from the beginning that this wouldn’t feel like a period movie or a historical piece,” Jackman said. “What would Barnum do now? I have an almost-12-year-old daughter. I wanted [the movie] to be as exciting for her as listening to Katy Perry’s new song.”
Likely a trailer will be imminent, but in the meantime you can look forward to The Greatest Showman roaring into cinemas at Christmas.