Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Famed Director Stanley Donen, 89, May Direct First Feature Film in 30 Years (Exclusive)


EXCLUSIVE: Stanley Donen, who will turn 90 next April, is considering a directing comeback after 30 years. The legendary director of movie musicals including “Singing in the Rain” has written a script with his significant other, the great and equally legendary Elaine May. The movie, a comedy, would be produced by Mike Nichols.

Yes, you are reading all this correctly. This is like the group from Mount Rushmore coming back for one new hurrah.

I can tell you that a couple of weeks ago there was a private reading for investors of the Donen-May script. Among the cast were Christopher Walken, Charles Grodin, Ron Rifkin, and Jeannie Berlin, the supremely talented daughter of Elaine May. Some NYU acting students also participated.

The movie is supposed to be about the making of a movie and everything that goes wrong, sources say. “The humor is very wry,” says my source.

Is Stanley Donen really going to direct this movie, I asked incredulously? “Knowing those three,” an insider quipped about Nichols, May and Donen, “they’ll all direct it!

Donen’s last feature was “Blame it on Rio” in 1984. He also directed another movie parody, the gem “Movie Movie” (1978).

By the way, Elaine May directed one of the greatest comedies of all time, “The Heartbreak Kid,” written by Neil Simon (1972). Just FYI.


Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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