Here at MTV News, we often get word of wacky movie biz gossip that has no chance of actually being true, from an art house director rumored to be taking on a franchise blockbuster to a long-forgotten film that someone, somewhere wants to reboot for the big screen. And then there are those rumors that are just so bizarre and delightful we hope against hope they contain a kernel of truth. Put a musical version of “Groundhog Day” into that last category.
About five years ago, the famed Broadway lyrist and composer Stephen Sondheim (“Sweeney Todd”) told some folks he loved the idea of doing a stage adaptation of “Groundhog,” the classic 1993 Bill Murray comedy about a prickly weatherman stuck reliving the same day over and over again. And that was about it. No one thought it might actually happen. But when Harold Ramis stopped by the MTV News offices to chat about his upcoming movie “The Year One,” he revealed that plans for a “Groundhog” musical are not just idle gossip, but are actually moving forward.
“Danny Rubin, who wrote the original script, has been working on a book for a musical,” said Ramis.
Unfortunately, Rubin hasn’t exactly had a string of successful screenplays since his “Groundhog Day” script, which was actually extensively rewritten by Ramis (the two share the writing credit). If you loved the Stephen Dorff -starring “S.F.W.,” maybe you can get excited for Rubin’s musical adaptation. But am I the only who hopes Ramis -- who’s written some of the greatest comedies of the last 30 years in “Animal House,” “Caddyshack,” “Ghostbusters” and others -- takes an active role in the production?
And when it comes to the musical aspects, I’ll hold out hope that Sondheim joins in. “Stephen Sondheim was asked what film he would turn into a musical and he said ‘Groundhog Day,’” explained Ramis. “And I said, ‘Wow, that’s pretty cool.’ James Lapine, who directed a lot of Sondheim, actually contacted me and asked if I’d thought about a ‘Groundhog Day’ musical.”
So does that mean Sondheim might in fact be involved? “I don’t know,” Ramis said. “I like that he took it that seriously.”
If Sondheim doesn’t end up participating in the “Groundhog” musical, perhaps Ramis will decide to once again tinker with the material. During the MTV interview, he did have one piece of advice for a “Groundhog Day” showstopper on Broadway. “The same as the song that opened it probably,” he said with a laugh. “It’s just one song all the way through.”
“Groundhog Day” on Broadway—sacrilegious or fantastic? Who should play Murray’s Phil Connors?