Fans of “The King and I” can start whistling a happy tune as Paramount Pictures announced it is developing a new feature adaptation of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s classic musical.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the studio will produce the new movie in collaboration with Temple Hill Entertainment, the production company behind the “Twilight” and “Maze Runner” film series. The Wrap reports that Concord Theatricals, which acquired the licensing rights Rodgers & Hammerstein catalogue in 2017, will also help produce the new feature.
According to Playbill, the famous musical play was based on Margaret Landon’s 1944 novel, “Anna and the King of Siam,” which, according to The Hollywood Reporter, was based on a true story that unfolded in the 1860s in what is now Thailand.
“The King and I” made its Broadway debut in 1951, receiving immediate critical and commercial acclaim, according to The Wrap. That year, the play won Tony awards for best musical, best actor (Yul Brynner) and best actress (Gertrude Lawrence). Playbill reports that the play features classic tunes including “Hello Young Lovers,” “I Whistle a Happy Tune,” “Shall We Dance?” and “Getting to Know You.”
In 1956, “The King and I” was adapted into a musical feature film with Brynner reprising his role as King Mongkut. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the film earned nine Oscar nominations and won five, including a best actor award for Brynner.
As it stands, no director or writer have signed on to the new project, The Wrap reports.
“The King and I” is not the first musical film to receive the reboot treatment. In late 2019, Steven Spielberg finished filming his version of Sondheim and Bernstein’s “West Side Story,” a musical play that was originally adapted for the screen in 1961. Spielberg’s movie, which stars Ansel Elgort opposite Rachel Zegler, was intended to be released in December of 2020, but was pushed back due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Wrap reports that the movie now holds a Dec. 10, 2021 release date.