In 2013, Hugh Jackman was nominated for his first Oscar for Les Miserables, but lost to some dude playing Abraham Lincoln, no idea what happened to him. Now, he’s taking a swing at a second nomination with The Greatest Showman, an all-original musical based on the life of P.T. Barnum and co-starring Michelle Williams, Zendaya and Zac Efron, who has finally realised he should do more musicals and less douchey frat-boy comedies.
The Greatest Showman is not based on the Cy Coleman Broadway musical Barnum, but instead features shiny new “Best Original Song” nominees in waiting by Pasek & Paul, the duo behind recent Tony winner Dear Evan Hansen and La La Land, and John Debney, who’s done scores for everything from The Passion of the Christ to The Spongebob Movie. This marks the directorial debut of visual effects specialist Michael Gracey.
Honestly, this looks a little too polished and hokey for my tastes. I can definitely see the appeal for Jackman to headline an all-original musical, an opportunity that’s rare in both film and stage, and this seems to have been a pet project of his for a while. I’m all for a lavish and unabashedly earnest musical, but, for what the trailer shows, this could be a tad too precious for me. Still, I’m sure that song will appear in many a high school musical audition in the future right alongside Audition from La La Land. I’m guessing it won’t include any of the stuff from Barnum’s political career, like the time he was the legislative sponsor of a bill banning contraception in Connecticut. I want that toe-tapping musical solo, Hugh!
Watch the trailer below.