Disney and David Oyelowo to Make Othello-Inspired Musical

David Oyelowo and Disney are making a live-action musical based on Othello and Cyrano de Bergerac, and from the writer of Moonlight.

It’s safe to say after La La Land, there is a renewed interest in original movie musicals written expressly for the screen. And who better to take a crack at it than the writer of the movie that infamously toppled La La for Best Picture? Thus enter Moonlight’s Tarell Alvin McCraney and his newly minted teaming with Disney for Cyrano the Moor.

As revealed via The Hollywood Reporter, McCraney is partnering with David Oyelowo (Selma) and the studio arguably responsible for the musical’s resurged popularity in younger moviegoers, Walt Disney Pictures, for a mashup of the two famous plays, Othello and Cyrano de Bergerac. Indeed, the story will have as much to do with William Shakespeare’s tragic yarn about a Moorish warrior who in Italy is driven mad with jealousy by pernicious forces, as it does with Edmond Rostand’s tragic-comic French play about a large-nosed man called Cyrano who falls into an unrequited love with a muse named Roxanne.

The film will work from a screenplay by McCraney who, while not writing the actual script for Moonlight, provided the story (and life experiences) that informed that now legendary film. Oyelowo is attached as a producer and with plans to star. He is producing alongside his wife Jessica Oyelowo, and Yoruba Saxon, Tendo Nagenda, and Chaz Salembier.

Disney has been making a number of live-action musicals lately. Most successfully, they produced the billion-dollar remake of Beauty and the Beast. However, that was still a remake of an already guaranteed moneymaker from the animation medium, whereas this follows the trend of the aforementioned Damien Chazelle film, as well as the upcoming The Greatest Showman, wherein original concepts and songs make their debut on the screen.

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