Today in showbiz news: Debra Messing, male strippers, and Fred Thompson are all going to Broadway (in separate shows), while the Sundance Channel is getting in the Jason Momoa (the really ripped guy on Game of Thrones) business.
[Note: While Richard Lawson is off busy memorizing all the offspring of Poseidon (Triton, Benthesikyme… Rhode… Herophile the Sibyl…), we have a guest showbiz news rounder-upper.]
Debra Messing, who recently starred in the pseudo-Broadway musical television series Smash, is heading to the real Broadway for the first time. The actress will be appearing alongside Brian F. O’Byrne in Doubt and Moonstruck writer John Patrick Shanley's new play, a romance titled Outside Mullingar. Messing will play a woman in rural Ireland infatuated with her cattle farmer neighbor (O’Byrne). The world will find out if Debra Messing can pull off an Irish accent when the play begins its run in January. [The Wrap]
Somehow, a Magic Mike musical actually moving forward (see below) is far from today's strangest piece of Broadway news; that honor goes to the story of Fred Thompson, the Republican senator turned Law & Order actor turned failed presidential candidate turned occasional Good Wife actor will be making his Broadway debut. Thompson is joining the adaptation of John Grisham's legal thriller A Time to Kill, in which he'll play the judge. The former politician is starring alongside Sebastian Arcelus and John Douglas Thompson, an English actor of no relation to Fred Thompson. Previews of A Time to Kill begin at the end of September with the full opening happening a few weeks later in October. [The Wrap / AP]
Yes, a musical based on the hit Channing Tatum male stripping film Magic Mike is closer to happening and our own Esther Zuckerman has some thoughts about that. Producers of the musical—a raft that includes Tatum the film's director, Steven Soderbergh—have tapped Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey (writers of the rock musical Next to Normal) to compose the songs, and Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa to pen the story. In addition to the musical, Tatum and Soderbergh are also working on a Magic Mike film sequel. One can only hope this means we get some other Steven Soderbergh musical adaptations—Behind the Candelabra would make for an incredible musical. [Deadline]
Jason Momoa, a musclebound actor who starred in Game of Thrones and the recent Conan the Barbarian reboot, will be playing the leading role in the Sundance Channel's next original drama series The Red Road. Momoa will play Harold Jensen, "a sheriff struggling to keep his family together" while trying to keep the peace between his hometown and a nearby Native American community. The hunky Momoa seems like an odd fit for the network's smart, sensitive aesthetic, but give Sundance the benefit of the doubt after the excellent dramas Rectify and Top of the Lake. If you haven't seen either of those shows, you should do so as soon as possible. [Deadline]
The Conjuring, the 1970s-set supernatural horror film from Saw director James Wan, grossed $3.3 million from midnight showings. Box office prognosticators believe the $20 million film may very well outgross far more expensive new releases Red 2, Turbo and R.I.P.D., budgeted at $84 million, $135 million and $130 million, respectively. Red 2's studio didn't release figures for midnight showings, but I can't imagine there were any midnight showings, as midnight is way too late for an AARP action film's main demographic to do any movie watching. Turbo and R.I.P.D. both star Ryan Reynolds—isn't that already an ominous sign after the disaster that was The Green Lantern? Not to mention that R.I.P.D. seems like a retread of some critically eviscerated box office flop from ten years ago. Incidentally, The Conjuring also has a much higher Rotten Tomatoes average (84 percent) than any other wide release film this weekend. [Variety / The Hollywood Reporter]