Do you remember the magnificently funny 1991 film, “Soapdish”? It’s being workshopped for Broadway as a musical, written by Brits George Stiles and Anthony Drewe, the guys behind “Mary Poppins.”
The tip comes from my U.K. colleague Baz Bamigboye of the Daily Mail, who also writes extensively today about the upcoming Oscar-buzzed movie musical, “Nine” in his Friday column.
“Soapdish” sent up the world of soap operas ‘ a world now, ironically, dying. But it was a hoot, with Sally Field as Celeste Talbert, who was meant to be a parody of Susan Lucci on “All My Children.” Celeste was the star of a soap opera, Elisabeth Shue was her long-lost daughter, and the film featured Kevin Kline as a long-lost love, Carrie Fisher, Robert Downey Jr, Garry Marshall, and Teri Hatcher had hilarious roles.
My two favorite “Soapdish” moments will be included in the musical, Stiles assured me the other day. In one of them, head writer Rose Schwartz, played by Whoopi Goldberg, reacts to having to reactivate Kevin Kline’s long-gone character. She laments:
“The guy was killed in an auto accident! I looked it up! He was driving in the Yukon, in a pink convertible, to visit his brother who’s an ex-con named Frances, when a tractor trailer comes along and decapitates him. You know what that means?, it means he doesn’t have a head. How am I suppose to write for a guy who doesn’t have a head? He’s got no lips, no vocal cords. What do you want me to do?”
The other great “Soapdish” scene is known as “Mall Therapy,” when Rose and Celeste ride a mall escalator simply so Rose can drum up autograph seekers to assuage Celeste’s bruised ego. It’s beautiful.
The movie, by the way, was written by Robert Harling (”Steel Magnolias”) and’ directed by Michael Hoffman, whose new film, “The Last Station,” is about to be released to much acclaim and a possible Oscar nomination for Helen Mirren.
Here’s an idea for the actual production: why not hire some of the real soap stars who are in and out of work these days? As the networks botch soaps completely, there are plenty of talented people out there up for consideration.