So, I was recently watching the movie Swordfish starring two of my favorite actors: Hugh Jackman and John Travolta.
Both John Travolta and Hugh Jackman are amazing song and dance men.
John Travolta started his career in musical theater and went on to immortalize the role of Danny Zuko in the film adaptation of Grease. Years later he revived his talents for musicals, starring in the film adaptation of the Broadway musical Hairspray.
Hugh Jackman also got his start in musical theater with such credits as Gaston in Beauty and the Beast and Curly in Oklahoma! (the latter of which released on DVD). After he hit it big as the Wolverine in the X-Men movies, he didn’t turn his back on his roots – opting to put in a Tony-winning performance in The Boy from Oz on Broadway, starring in the film adaptation of Les Misérables, and most recently providing a Golden Globe-nominated performance headlining the movie musical The Greatest Showman.
Seeing the two actors together in Swordfish made me wonder…”Wouldn’t it be great if these amazing triple-threat performers worked together in a movie musical?”
That’s when it hit me. I realized the perfect vehicle for Hugh Jackman and John Travolta to team up in: a movie remake of Guys and Dolls.
Guys and Dolls is a Broadway favorite that has had numerous successful reincarnations on stage, but the 1955 movie has always left something to be desired and is sorely in need of a remake.
The only movie version of Guys and Dolls currently available suffers from tragic miscasting that make it watchable, but only barely.
Frank Sinatra with his sultry voice and cool delivery would have been perfect to play Sky Masterson in the film and campaigned heavily for the role. But under pressure from Samuel Goldwyn Productions, director Joe Mankiewicz went in another direction, casting Marlon Brando in his one and only singing role.
Marlon Brando could barely sing a note and the music editors have stated they had an almost impossible task of trying to piece together usable renditions of his songs from hundreds of snippets of his attempts at singing. They even had to end up cutting one of Sky’s songs (My Time of Day) because they couldn’t put a palatable rendition together from Marlon Brando’s many attempts in the recording studio.
Instead of being cast as Sky Masterson, Frank Sinatra was given the consolation prize of playing Nathan Detroit. He did fine in the role, but it wasn’t the one he was meant to play.
Fast forward to 2018. Hugh Jackman would be perfect to bring the suave professional gambler Sky Masterson to life on screen. John Travolta, meanwhile, is at just the right age to play marriage-shy Nathan Detroit in grand and glorious fashion.
Given how bad the original film was in comparison to the potential of the material, and Hollywood’s current penchant for producing film and television remakes of classic Broadway material, it is only a matter of time before Guys and Dolls gets a retelling. It would be, in my opinion, marvelous if it is made in the next few years with Hugh Jackman and John Travolta.
Peace. Love. Trust.