‘Les Mis’ movie here–can ‘Miss Saigon’ be far behind?By Nestor U. Torre
Musical-theater producer Cameron Mackintosh has finally shown the long-awaited film version of his hit stage musical, “Les Miserables,” so fans are nagging him about filming his other big hit, “Miss Saigon.”
His guarded response: It depends on how well the “Les Mis” film does at the box office. Well, we heard, it is doing good business—and even won best picture honors at the Golden Globes.
Does this mean the “Miss Saigon” movie project will be given the green light soon? We wouldn’t hold our breath, but “Les Mis” may be making film musicals popular again; that is, after the slump they experienced last year. Since we’ve loved musical films since childhood, we sure hope that their resurgence is for keeps!
Despite the uninformed reactions of some moviegoers, who still think it’s a bit strange and even funny when film characters suddenly burst into song to express how they feel, musical films should be made and viewed due to their uncommon power to move viewers with larger-than-life stories and performances.
If the “Miss Saigon” movie finally gets green-lighted this year, it will be really big news especially for Filipino fans, due to the original stage production’s well-known Pinoy connection.
Not Jessica Sanchez
Naturally, local fans are hoping that a Filipino actress-singer will be tapped to play Kim in the movie version—hence the rumor floated last year that Jessica Sanchez was being “considered” for the role. Later, however, Jessica herself debunked the rumor, and some fans were—relieved!
Truth to tell, it was most unlikely for someone like Jessica to be considered for the plum role, because her darkish complexion and less-than-spectacular looks run counter to the Eurasian “virgin-seductress” character type that TV-film productions in the West favor.
Yes, Jessica has the great voice and the youth for the demanding and star-making role, but it will probably go to somebody else who fits the illusion better.
Who that lucky person will be, is still a big question mark. She could conceivably come from the “Miss Saigon” auditions held in Manila last year, or from the next round of auditions still to be held in London. After all, other then-little-known Eurasian talents have been tapped to star in movie musicals in the past, Like France Nguyen in “Flower Drum Song.” Here again, our advice is, don’t hold your breath! If “Miss Saigon” does get made into a movie this year or in 2014, it should do very well in Asia, where the greatest number of moviegoers reside. So, Mr. Mackintosh, what are you waiting for?
Perhaps an inhibiting factor is the relatively low rate of success for new musical films. Yes, “Moulin Rouge” and “Mamma Mia” clicked with viewers, but “Nine” should have been retitled “Six” because it got a failing mark from moviegoers! So, producers can hardly be blamed for opting for going the slow and easy-does-it route.
Other stage musicals that should be transposed to the silver screen, says a film and theater buff, include “Wicked,” because of its new twist on its traditionally evil characters, “Pippin,” and a new take on “Sunset Boulevard.” What are your suggestions?
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