Last year, we told you that John Cleese was developing the movie he wrote A Fish Called Wanda into a stage musical. Unfortunately, the project soon afterwards found itself stuck in limbo due to the studio’s financial crisis. But now that the studio has emerged from bankruptcy and is back in business, Cleese has struck a deal with them for the rights to put on the show.
As Cleese told the British newspaper The Guardian –
MGM was in a terrible mess… Now a couple of people have bought it who are apparently, according to my spies, extremely decent and reasonable human beings. As a result of that, a deal has been done.
In the original film, Cleese plays an uptight British lawyer who falls for Jamie Lee Curtis, a member of a team of jewel thieves with Kevin Klien and Michael Palin who are constantly trying to double cross each other.
Cleese was writing the stage show with his daughter Camilla and collaborating on the songs with British comic Bill Bailey, probably best known to US British comedy fans as Manny from Black Books and comic book shop owner Bilbo on Spaced.
Right now, Cleese is looking for a director to help get the production in front of the footlights. Don’t count on tickets being on sale anytime soon, though. The show undoubtedly has a long way to go with finding backers and polishing the script and songs through a number of workshops before it will be ready for audiences. As Cleese acknowledges –
Musicals take an enormously long time to put together,” he said. “It’s like the gestation period of an elephant. Someone told me the average is about eight years, so I’m being patient.”