|Directed by||:||Michael Gracey||Produced by||:||Laurence Mark, Peter Chernin, Jenno Topping||Story by||:||Jenny Bicks||Starring||:||Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, Michelle Williams, Rebecca Ferguson, Zendaya||Production company||:||Chernin Entertainment, Seed Productions, Laurence Mark Productions, TSG Entertainment||Country||:||United States|
The Greatest Showman director on the epic musical numbers and if it could head to Broadway
Fox’s The Greatest Showman, starring Hugh Jackman as P.T. Barnum, is a big movie musical. There are acrobats and elephants and lions and Michelle Williams twirling amidst her laundry.
But two of the standout moments from the film — which has songs written by La La Land‘s Benj Pasek and Justin Paul — are actually the comparatively smaller, simpler numbers. One that has been singled out in reviews is “Rewrite the Stars,” a duet between producer Phillip (Zac Efron) and trapeze artist Anne (Zendaya) in which the pair sing their love song while flying around the circus on ropes. It’s elegant and romantic, but director Michael Gracey says it took a lot of work to get it right.
“‘Rewrite the Stars’ was incredibly challenging,” says Gracey, a commercial director making his feature film debut. “You’d have this beautiful shot of Zendaya flying around Zac and Zac’s in the foreground and it’s just perfect. And just as she’s about to sing the line that you need in that moment, the rope twists and her whole body moves and that line you want, she’s facing away from camera! It’s things like that you’re like, ‘Ughhh!’ And also a lot of the jumping and swinging and the two of them coming together, there are so many takes of that being so awkward and so clunky as they don’t quite swing past each other, they just slam into each other. All of a sudden what’s meant to be balletic and slow and wonderful effortless feel, all of a sudden becomes incredibly brutal and violent as these bodies go slamming into each other. That was a lot of takes and a credit to Zac and Zendaya — they were so bruised but they just kept going again and again and again.”