Following his huge success with Enchanted, director Kevin Lima developed several projects, but the closest to date one of them has come to happening is the planned DreamWorks musical, Monkeys Of Mumbai.
Originally entitled Mumbai Musical, the film was announced, and DreamWorks Animation – prior to its sale to Comcast (Universal’s parent company) – had invested a lot into it. And then, in 2014, the plug was pulled.
But just what happened? And how close did it come to happening?
“It came very close”, Kevin Lima told me. “We were just going into production, we were just starting animation. I’d been working on it for two and a half years. All the songs were written. Stephen Schwartz and A R Rahman. We were just ready to start”.
He added that “I have to say that it’s one of the great disappointments of my film career not seeing that one move forward. It had nothing to do with the movie, and everything to do with the politics of selling the studio. Seven of us I think lost movies at that moment in time”.
Amongst the films that were put into turnaround were the all-but-finished B.O.O., and the Tim Minchin feature, Larrikins. They each fell victim to the sale of DreamWorks Animation.
In the case of Monkeys Of Mumbai, corporate knots have seemingly killed any chances of the film being revived. “With the studio having written it off on their taxes, it means the only way to get it back would be to invest that kind of money again. And it’s tens of millions of dollars”
It’s not the kind of project that could be funded by a crowdfunding appeal, either. Rather, another company would need to pick up the tab.
“I tried. I really tried. Stephen Schwartz and I took it around town, but when the price tag was revealed, everyone gasped. Ultimately, we couldn’t find a buyer”, Lima lamented.
As such, out there somewhere is a feature all but ready to go, with the songs already in place. But thanks to becoming collateral damage in a corporate takeover, Monkeys Of Mumbai is destined never to be seen. A real pity.
In the gallery at the top of this article, you’ll find some exclusive, never-before-seen (outside of the walls of the studio) art from Monkeys Of Mumbai. Click on the picture at the top to open the gallery and make the pictures big. Here’s a taste…