Hollywood’s Sondheim Fad Extends Further With the Promise of a Follies Movie

A scene from Dominic Cooke’s London production of Follies. Photo: Johan Persson

If you love to watch fabulous older women talk about how love curdles and the glorious past is out of reach (and maybe wasn’t even that great) and sing as they generally despair, boy is this great news for you: A movie adaptation of the musical Follies is in the works. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Heyday Films and BBC Films have picked up the film rights to the James Goldman–Stephen Sondheim musical Follies, which originally ran on Broadway in 1971 (directed by the late Hal Prince). The show is set during a reunion for women who all appeared in a classic Ziegfield Follies–style musical revue together, which happens to take place at a Broadway theater that’s about to be demolished, with ghostlike representations of the younger versions of the protagonists haunting the premises. Dominic Cooke, who directed a recent successful staging of Follies at the National Theatre in London starring Imelda Staunton and Janie Dee, is set to direct the film version. The film hasn’t announced a cast, but we’re sure Meryl and Glenn and whichever other grand dames of film who like to sing are currently trying to find a way in.

Relatedly, Sondheim himself must be on some sort of “year of yes” ahead of his 90th birthday at the moment, because his songs are showing up everywhere. They’re in movies like Joker (“Send in the Clowns”), Knives Out (“Losing My Mind”), Marriage Story (two songs from Company), and in TV shows like The Politician (“Unworthy of Your Love”) and The Morning Show (“Not While I’m Around”). There’s a Merrily We Roll Along movie, a West Side Story movie and Broadway show, and an upcoming Broadway run of a gender-swapped Company. HBO Max, now is the time to stage Passion: Live on Streaming!

A Follies Movie May Soon Have You Losing Your Mind