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.