There are occasionally subjects that inspire films in dual development––famous examples have included danger from the skies in 1998’s ‘Deep Impact’ and ‘Armageddon’ and volcanoes via 1997’s ‘Volcano’ and ‘Dante’s Peak’.
Fred Astaire is perhaps not something you might expect to generate the same fever, but the incredibly talented performer is now the subject of two movies making announcements or adding filmmakers.
The first of the two, which had been development at Amazon but is now on the open market, has Jamie Bell and Margaret Qualley aboard to star as Astaire and longtime partner (and dancing equal) Ginger Rogers. Deadline reports that the movie’s rights are up for sale.
Hollywood icons Astaire and Rogers starred in ten movies together, starting with ‘Flying Down to Rio’ in 1933 and ending with ‘The Barkleys of Broadway’ in 1949. The duo revolutionized the musical film genre and dazzled audiences with their inventive flair. This movie focuses on a life-defining point in their early careers when their contrasting dance styles and competitive rivalry threatened to destroy their legendary partnership.
Jonathan Entwistle, who created series ‘The End of the F*cking World’ for Netflix is directing from a script by writer Arash Amel, who most recently worked on ‘The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare’ with director Guy Ritchie. The aim is to have this Astaire movie shooting later this year.
And then we come to the second Astaire-focused film, which will star ‘Spider-Man’s Tom Holland.
Related Article: Tom Holland Talks ‘Uncharted’
What is the Tom Holland Fred Astaire movie about?
Holland will play Astaire in a film that focuses on him and his sister, Adele Astaire. The two were inseparable for more than 20 years, moving out of a simple Midwestern vaudeville act in the early part of the 20th Century to Broadway and London’s West end in the 1920s.
Adele Astaire was initially the face of the act but eventually, Fred Astaire’s consummate stage skills eclipsed hers. The duo parted in 1932 when the sister married, which was a blow to Fred, but it also thrust him onto the path of Hollywood dance musicals, and subsequently into cinema immortality.
Paul King has come aboard to direct the movie. He’s the man behind both ‘Paddington’ movies and most recently made ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ prequel ‘Wonka’ starring Timothée Chalamet, which will be in theaters this December.
The connections between the two Astaire movies are deep––Lee Hall has come aboard the Holland-starring film to re-write the script. One of his previous credits? 2000’s dance-centric crowd-pleaser ‘Billy Elliot’, which starred Jamie Bell as a young lad with a love of dance who is mired in his family’s disintegration in a town in the North of England.
That movie was adapted into a successful stage musical, which saw a breakout performance from one Tom Holland. So by association, it’s Billy Elliot that takes the credit for the dueling Astaire films!