From Montmartre to Broadway for French romance "Amelie"

Reuters News
Posted: Aug 23, 2013 8:08 AM

PARIS (Reuters) - The 2001 global hit movie "Amelie", a whimsical romance set in Paris' cobblestone Montmartre district, is headed to Broadway as U.S. composer Dan Messe works on adapting it into a stage musical.

The planned adaptation would be the latest in a string of international hit films to get stagings on Broadway, including "Matilda", "The Lion King" and "Billy Elliot".

Amelie, a feel-good film directed by Frenchman Jean-Pierre Jeunet, tells the tale of a quirky waitress who tries to put right the lives of those around her with secret good turns or mischievous pranks while struggling herself to find love.

Nominated for five Oscars, it became the most successful French movie outside France until "The Intouchables" overtook it last year, selling 23 million cinema tickets worldwide and propelling French actress Audrey Tautou to stardom.

The film was berated by some French critics for being too sugary, however, and even the soundtrack's author Yann Tiersen has since called the movie's folklore "irritating".

Messe says his musical will be noticeably different.

The indie-folk songwriter is planning his own score completely different from the accordion-and-piano waltzes that endeared the film to millions of moviegoers.

"I'm not interested in doing Parisian music. I don't think I'm even going to use accordion in my score," he said in a recent interview with Paste, a monthly U.S. music magazine.

Enough's Enough
Walter E. Williams

On the Facebook page of his Brooklyn-based band, Hem, Messe said he was writing the score with playwright Craig Lucas and composer Nathan Tysen.

"The music sounds like mine. But certainly, I'm not playing up the Americana elements either," he told Paste. "I'm not having pedal steel and fiddle, but it'll be hyper-romantic and playful more than anything."

(Reporting by Natalie Huet; Editing by Catherine Bremer and Pravin Char)