The first trailer for Eastwood's big-screen adaptation of the Broadway hit jukebox musical that paid tribute to the Four Seasons arrived today, and it looks like he's making a musical version of "Goodfellas." Vincent Piazza and John Lloyd Young, playing Tommy Devito and Frankie Valli, lead a largely unknown ensemble cast, and I'm sure there's going to be a ton of singing in the film. This sort of story has been told a thousand times, so it comes down to the energy and the pleasure of seeing these guys go through their rise and fall.
It's a good trailer. Solid. Some fun bits in it. You can tell they're going for the sweetest possible version of the songs, and since that was the big hook of the show, it makes sense. This does not look like "Les Miserables," where the vocals were recorded live on-set. Instead, it appears Eastwood's gone the far more conventional route of using a pre-record that the actors are performing to in the scenes.
I'm curious to see if this can be a real commercial prospect or not. Just because something is a big deal in New York or as a touring production doesn't mean it automatically translates to the same sort of broad appeal that is necessary for it to be considered a hit as a film. I'd love to know what the film costs. Part of the ongoing appeal of Eastwood as a filmmaker to studios is that he's not a guy who spends a bottomless pit of money every time he makes a movie. He stretches his dollars about as far as anyone working for a studio can. Period pieces aren't cheap, though, so I'd be curious what they decided was the right amount to spend to make it look as slick and candy-colored as it does, but responsibly.
Beyond that, though, the appeal of seeing a jukebox musical live is hearing the music performed by people right there in the theater. It's a very particular charge, and Warner Bros. just tried their luck with another similar (although far campier) project recently with "Rock Of Ages," which was most decidedly not a hit.
Is this a story you've got any interest in as a viewer? I'd go because of the filmmaker and because I'm curious to see what he does with the energy of a musical, a form he hasn't worked in before, but I don't really care about another showbiz biopic beyond that. Is there a massive Four Seasons fanbase out there all worked up because this is coming out?
"Jersey Boys" is in theaters June 20, 2014.
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