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Anna Kendrick for "The Last Five Years"

I've long dreamed of a film adaptation of Jason Robert Brown's possibly unfilmable The Last Five Years which is, frankly, my favorite original musical of this millenium (thus far). Only Michael John LaChiusa's The Wild Party and Adam Guettel's Light in the Piazza come anywhere near it in terms of my obsessiveness. I know every word backwards and forwards. Literally at that; half of this romance-gone-awry musical (Hers) is told backwards and the other half (His) is told forwards. 

Turns out a film version is very much in the works. Writer/Director Richard LaGravenese wants to make it and Anna Kendrick, she of the perfect pitch, plans to star in it. They'll have to get funding and a male lead still. The right male lead won't be easy to come by. He's got to be a) convincingly Jewish b) comedically and dramatically gifted c) blessed with enough sexual and intellectual charisma to have the audience buy into his sudden literary stardom and understand if not quite forgive his extramarital flings and he's got to be able to sell the show's single best dramatic song "Nobody Needs to Know". 

It's tough to imagine anyone surpassing Norbert Leo Butz and Sherie Rene Scott who originated the roles off Broadway but that's a problem that only those theater aficionados who were lucky enough to see it during its run in 2002 have to contend with.

One of Broadway's best - Sherie Rene Scott

I'm not sure what to make of this filmmaking combo. LaGravenese's work is all over the place quality wise from the sublime (The Fisher King's screenplay) to the let's-not-talk-about-that (two poorly received Hilary Swank vehicles for starters.) Anna Kendrick won't have any trouble selling the comedy or the vocals but it's tough to imagine Kendrick, who has made her career on scarily driven type A bitches (Camp, Up in the Air) who would eat Cathy alive, selling her frustrating doormat qualities and lack of confidence with the endearing comic neurosis and empathic sweetness that Sherie Rene Scott mastered. I love Kendrick's voice and y'all know I am thrilled that we're arriving in a place (possibly) where actors with actual vocal gifts are routinely cast in musicals, but the role is just such a 180º from the roles that made her famous.

Are there any other Last Five Years fans in the house? Speak up. Convince your fellow TFE readers to grab that CD. 

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Reader Comments (25)

Kendrick is a weird choice but at least it's right age-wise and kind of inspired in a at-least-it's-not-Amanda-Seyfried kind of way. I hope the male lead is chosen with the same care. (...Does Andrew Garfield sing?)

And I'm a big fan of the musical too. The number of plays on my iTunes is...obscene.

October 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJacob D

I think she's a great choice for the role. It will allow her to break out of that sarcastic-y kind of role that I fear her getting trapped in. The role of Cathy is so tough because it goes backwards. It's so easy for an audience to like Jamie more than Cathy because his story goes straight through. I am so effing excited.

October 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJoey

I dunno. I liked Kendrick's casting. She played "unsure of herself" in 50/50 and did beautifully (even in Up in the Air, while outwardly showng poise, she was clearly inwardly unconfident). Plus, Sherie Rene isn't exactly a wallflower.

Hoping that this takes off and as a consequence, someone finances the Next to Normal musical.

October 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEvan

I never get too excited about this AFM stuff, because who knows if it will ever be made, but I'm all about Anna Kendrick so I got my eye on this one.

Male lead? JGL?

October 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterWill h

The source material is beloved enough that they should have no trouble lining up talent for this. Jo-Go Levitt, Jonathan Groff... I feel like Daniel Radcliffe is somewhere in this conversation despite being pretty wrong for the part. Just please nobody tell Justin Timberlake.

October 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDS

I have not heard of this musical. However I share your love of Light in the Piazza - where is the movie for that? La Pfeiffer would kill as Maragaret.... she would sing a fantastic Dividing Life

October 21, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermurtada

Male lead: John Gallagher Jr?

October 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJim

I like the way you think, Jim.

October 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterWill h

LaGravanese <3 The Bridges of Madison County

October 21, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

murtada -- oh great, Murtada. Now I'll be obsessing over *that* imaginary movie for the next week, at least.

jim -- interesting choice. i could totally see that working. BUT...

ds -- you landed on my favorite option: Jonathon Groff. Won't somebody please make him happen for movie musicals. i always love him and he had such screen presence in Woodstock in that tiny movie role. CASTING DIRECTORS, come on!

October 21, 2012 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

And suddenly I can't imagine anyone other than John Gallagher Jr.

October 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRyan T.

The recent video of Groff singing "Moving too Fast" was kind of... affect-less, although maybe he wasn't trying to fully "act" the song since it was part of a cabaret act.

October 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDS

I like the show a lot!!! It was done recently at the theatre at my local college and it was really good! Both actors did great!

Anyway, Kendrick IS a weird choice, but she's a good actress and maybe it'll be a good departure for her. Didn't know she could sing though!

Do you have a video of her singing?

October 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJoe

I think what everyone is saying is that we'd like to see Anna Kendrick continue to co star her way through the entire cast of Spring Awakening.

October 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterWill h

Love L5Y!! I know the lyrics backwards and forwards too, and sing it often. And I'm on board with John Gallagher Jr too...we should start a petition! haha

October 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKatie

I need this to have already happened.

October 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterChris

This is also my absolute favorite musical. The good thing about it is it could be done on a shoestring budget, since it's really just a series of solos (and one duet, arguably two) at very few locations. A made-for-TV (HBO?) film, if done right, could really work.

October 21, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterdru

Love love love The Last 5 Years, but I can't see how they would turn it into a movie without either changing it significantly or just filming a stage performance. Of all the musicals to be made into a film, this one strikes me as a very odd choice, since it's mostly (if not nearly all) music, and mostly solos at that. So color me skeptical, but I'd still be there on opening weekend.

Anna Kendrick is puzzling as the female lead (she reads too young to me), but I like her. For the male lead, how about Zachary Levi? Can't get more Jewish than that, he has a great singing voice, and he could sell the intellectual angles.

October 22, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterdenny

Everyone should just go see Camp. She sings in it and is the best thing in the movie. It's about a bunch of kids at a musical theater camp. It came out in 2003 (I think), and if she can sing like that then, imagine what she is like now.

October 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJoey

This is reminding me that I saw Sherie Rene Scott at Niketown this past July with her son and was terrified to ask for an autograph so I chickened out and now deeply regret that. :(

October 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJim

Just listened to it this weekend. For the 800th time. And since Anna Kendrick is my future girlfriend, I think she'll absolutely kill it!

October 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBrady

LOVE Anna Kendrick. LOVE The Last Five Years. Just heard about this today and I'm SUPER excited!!!

October 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAndrea

JGL is my favorite movie star choice for the lead, although John Gallagher is a very, very close second (not quite as convinced of his acting abilities as I am with JoGo). And although you're correct that Kendrick's characters from Up in the Air and Camp don't work at all for this, my mind immediately jumped to her work in 50/50, where she played a character that I think would totally work for Cathy.

October 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHannah M

"Zachary Levi? Can't get more Jewish than that,"

Sure you can. You can start with not being a devout Christian, which is a test Levi fails. He is not Jewish in the slightest.

Lots o'actual young Jewish actors, however: Logan Lerman, Andrew Garfield, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Alden Ehrenreich, Anton Yelchin, heck, even Kendrick's co-star Skylar Astin.

October 30, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterbee

Jeremy Jordan...?

Right age, right voice. It could work! He's outrageously talented.

January 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAudree
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