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It does not remotely surprise me that Guillermo Del Toro is finally working with Paul Williams.
The idea of turning "Pan's Labyrinth" into a stage musical is intriguing. It's a lush dark fantasy world, and I would imagine it gives the production team some great opportunities to build a gorgeous world on the stage. It also deals with sweeping emotional arcs, and when you're creating a musical, I think the bigger the emotions, the better the piece.
Gustavo Santoallala is the composer of, among other scores, "The Motorcycle Diaries," one of my personal favorite scores of the last ten years. I've played that soundtrack hundreds and hundreds of times while working, and I think he's got a very fresh and interesting musical voice. His music with Williams writing lyrics sounds to me like an incredible marriage of talent. Williams, of course, is known for his work with the Carpenters, his songs for "The Muppet Movie," and the absolutely incredible score for Brian De Palma's "Phantom Of The Paradise."
As far as the Guillermo/Williams connection, the first time I ever met Guillermo was at the very first Butt-Numb-A-Thon film festival, when Guillermo showed up with his personal 35mm print of "Phantom Of The Paradise." Harry Knowles seated me next to Guillermo for the full 24 hours of the event, and the first thing Guillermo said to me as he sat down was, "I hope you like 'Phantom Of The Paradise.'"
I told him I am a huge fan of the film, and he sized me up as he replied. "I plan to sing along to every word of the film. Your participation is mandatory." Talk about an instant test to drop on another film nerd. I think part of the reason I consider Guillermo a friend still today, 14 full years later, is because of that first bonding experience. There is no doubt that Guillermo considers Williams a major artist, a huge inspiration, and any time you get a chance to put people together who have that kind of regard for each other's work, there's a strong possibility you'll get something special as a result.
This immediately becomes one of the things I am most excited to see in the near future, and even if this only ever plays London, I will figure out a way to see it.