The Greatest Showman is now playing in theaters, and while our staff remains somewhat divided on the original toe-tapping musical starring Hugh Jackman, at least some of us believe that it should appeal to any superhero movie fan who wants to take a dive into the oh, so similar realm of musicals. And as it turns out, we may not have all been whistling “Give My Regards Regards to Broadway.” Indeed, Variety broke late Thursday that 20th Century Fox reportedly tapped Hugh Jackman friend and frequent collaborator, James Mangold, to direct a week of reshoots, as well as oversee some of the editing and post-production process.
As per the trade, Mangold was paid a seven-figure amount and brought in to direct reshoots because the studio felt that The Greatest Showman director Michael Gracey had become “overwhelmed with the scope of the picture.” This apparently extended to the post-production process, as the studio determined Gracey also needed “assistance” in the editing bay.
For the record, Gracey has a long history of shooting commercials and has been planning a musical about P.T. Barnum with Hugh Jackman for years. He also has been tapped to direct a Naruto movie. Further, a source close to Fox has suggested that Mangold’s role was solely in an advisory role. However, getting an “executive producer” credit and up to seven figures on an $84-million budgeted musical might suggest quite a bit of advice.
It would make sense for the studio to turn to Mangold if The Greatest Showman needed help. Mangold and Jackman have developed quite a rapport after working on both The Wolverine and Logan together. Further, while Mangold is primarily known now for his grittier action-dramas like Logan and 3:10 to Yuma, he also has experience in musical-adjacent filmmaking, having directed the Oscar winning Walk the Line in 2005. Also in our previous conversations with Mangold, he showed a real passion for classic Western iconography, which alongside the musical was once the dominant Hollywood genre, much like superhero movies currently are. Plus, he is already set-up at Fox to direct a Patty Hearst movie next, potentially with Elle Fanning in the starring role.
If Mangold was needed to give a hand to Showman, it might explain why our review found the movie slight and scattered. Still, the prospect of Mangold helming a musical from the ground-up is certainly an intriguing proposition.