Glenn Close to star in, Rob Ashford to direct ‘Sunset Boulevard’ movie musical

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Glenn Close arrives at the 2019 Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 24.

The eighth time might be the charm for Glenn Close at the 2020 Academy Awards.

The seven-time Oscar nominee will star in Paramount’s big-screen version of the Broadway musical adaptation of the screen classic “Sunset Boulevard,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. Close will reprise the role she played twice on Broadway, although more than 20 years apart.

Tony-winning choreographer Rob Ashford, currently represented on Broadway as choreographer of Disney’s “Frozen” musical, is attached to direct. Ashford won a Tony for best choreography for 2002’s “Thoroughly Modern Millie” and earned Tony nods for the musicals “The Wedding Singer,” “Curtains,” “Cry-Baby,” “Promises, Promises” and “Evita.” He also earned best director and best choreography nominations for “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying,” which starred Daniel Radcliffe and John Larroquette. Plus, Ashford worked as a choreographer on several Academy Awards telecasts and gained notices handled the stage direction and choreography for NBC’s live television presentations of the musicals “The Sound of Music” and “Peter Pan.”

Tom MacRae, who wrote the hit London musical “Everybody’s Talking About Jamie,” penned the screenplay for the “Sunset Boulevard” movie musical.

Iconic composer Andrew Lloyd Webber is among the producers of the project, adapted from the black-and-white Billy Wilder classic that starred Gloria Swanson as Norma Desmond, a faded and deluded silent-screen star who ensnares a down-on-his-luck screenwriter (William Holden) into her fantasy of making a comeback. The 1950 show-biz tragedy won three Oscars.

Close is playing Norma, a role she portrayed when the musical hit Broadway in 1994, winning her third Tony Award. She again took on the part to great acclaim in a 2016 revival that played both London and New York. The musical features a score by Lloyd Webber, with book and lyrics by Don Black and Christopher Hampton. The original production won seven Tonys in all, including best musical, book and original score.

Although Paramount had no comment, The Hollywood Reporter reports that a fall start is being planned for the production. Close had been loosely attached to the project since last year, but a director was needed to make it a reality.

Close, who this year earned her seventh Oscar nomination but still has yet to win an Academy Award, is now considered a sure thing to at least score another nod in 2020.

She earned a Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild, Independent Spirit and other awards this year for her powerhouse lead turn in “The Wife,” but Olivia Colman won the best actress Oscar for her queenly turn in dark period comedy “The Favourite.”


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