Get your jazz hands ready because finally classic Hollywood musicals are getting the attention they deserve! It has recently become public knowledge that Ryan Gosling will be producing a Busby Berkeley biopic based off of Buzz: The Life and Art of Busby Berkeley by Jeffrey Spivak. Naturally all of us are hoping that the young Gosling will be stepping in as leading man, filling enormously large shoes.
Busby Berkeley was a choreographer and director who gave us some of the best Hollywood musicals to date such as The Gold Diggers of 1933, Footlight Parade, and 42nd Street. During World War I Berkeley was a Lieutenant, choreographing and directing parades to raise morale. The son of actors, the young artist then began to choreograph shows on Broadway before moving out to Hollywood to work for Warner Brothers as a choreographer and later a director.
Through his long career Berkeley choreographed 37 films and is credited for directing 32, making him one of the most accomplished musical directors of the 1930s. His style consisted of highly organized shots of chorus girls moving in stunning formations across the screen. Over-the-top wardrobe and monstrous sets frequented his films as well as over-head shots focusing in on original dance numbers. The unique style and choreography he displayed earned him three nominations for Best Dance Direction at the Oscars (an award that no longer exists; what a pity).
The surrealist style of filmmaking made not only for an escape, but showcased camaraderie as talented young dancers and actors struggled to put on a show during the depths of the Great Depression. It’s a relief that Marc Platt again will be joining Gosling as producer on this project (the two worked together recently on Drive). The producer of box-office jewel Wicked and the Broadway adaptation of Legally Blonde, Platt is no stranger to the musical genre. He is currently working on Disney’s film adaptation of Into the Woods, and has proven himself worthy of taking on the incomparable Busby Berkeley.
Gosling has just wrapped How to Catch a Monster, his directorial debut, which he wrote himself co-starring Eva Mendes and Saoirse Ronan with Platt producing. Now all we can do is hold our breath and see if Gosling will direct, produce, and star in his Berkeley adaptation. Hopefully the film will embody the classic Hollywood feel of life, love, and the American Dream.