'The Spectacular Now' director James Ponsoldt to adapt 'Pippin'

Making two indie films about the drinking problems of young people might not immediately seem to put one in line for adapting a beloved Broadway musical, but such are the unpredictable ways of Hollywood. The Weinstein Co. said Tuesday that James Ponsoldt, director of the recent "Smashed" and "The Spectacular Now," would be writing a screen adaptation of the musical "Pippin."

"Smashed," which Ponsoldt wrote and directed, starred Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Aaron Paul as a young couple grappling with alcoholism. "The Spectacular Now," starring Shailene Woodley and Miles Teller, opens this summer. Directed by Ponsoldt, it is the story of a young man outgrowing his small town.

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“James has rightfully become one of the most buzzed about young writer-directors in the business," Weinstein Co. Co-Chairman Harvey Weinstein said in a statement. " 'Smashed' and 'The Spectacular Now' showed his talent for telling stories of self-discovery, and we’re confident he will have the same success rewriting this story.”

"Pippin" is a coming-of-age story of a young prince searching for meaning. The original 1972 production of "Pippin," directed by Bob Fosse with music by Steven Schwartz and book by Roger O. Hirson, was nominated for 11 Tony Awards. The current Broadway revival of "Pippin" was recently nominated for 10 Tony Awards.

This isn't the only recent invasion of indie filmmakers into the seemingly unlikely space of family-friendly fare. David Lowery, writer and director of the upcoming poetic crime drama/romance "Ain't Them Bodies Saints," was recently announced as a writer with Toby Halbrooks on a remake of the 1977 Disney children's film "Pete's Dragon." Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig, who will see their "Frances Ha" collaboration hitting theaters this summer, were recently reported to be working on an animated project.


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Follow Mark Olsen on Twitter: @IndieFocus

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