‘Muriel’s Wedding’ Was Almost A Very Different Film, Director P.J. Hogan Reveals

Director P.J. Hogan has his feet planted firmly back in Porpoise Spit as he puts the finishing touches on Muriel’s Wedding: The Musical, which opens at the Sydney Theatre Company this weekend.

There’s been talk of a stage musical version of the beloved film for years, but Hogan says he’d always been dissuaded by the obvious stumbling blocks: ANOTHER Abba stage musical? And how could anyone possibly fill Toni Collette’s shoes as the titular character?

We sat down with Hogan during a rehearsal break at STC, as the show’s cast powered through original songs penned for the musical by alt-pop songstress Kate Miller-Heidke and partner Keir Nuttall (don’t worry, there’s still plenty of ABBA in the mix).

Name a more iconic duo - we’ll wait.

Name a more iconic duo - we’ll wait.Source:Supplied

You’ve said that over the years you were approached many times with the idea of a Muriel’s Wedding musical. Why now?

I’m prejudiced against musicals — I always thought of them as essentially light, like Guys and Dolls or The Music Man. The film’s got a lot of darkness — a lot of people remember it as a comedy, but it’s got a dark side. I was in the US for work and I saw shows like Once, Fun Home … I realised musicals had changed. The modern musical is riskier, and not afraid to go dark. That gave me confidence. Life isn’t all happy or all sad — it’s often both at the very same moment. Like it or not, Rhonda’s always going to end up in a wheelchair. Muriel’s mother is always going to be the most tragic character.

And I thought Muriel would have loved to live now. In a lot of ways, she was the first reality TV star. She sold her personal life for money and fame; she got married for cash and publicity. How does that make her any different from Kim Kardashian? Muriel was the first Kim. That really intrigued me, and I wanted to pursue that in the show.

Director PJ Hogan at STC. Picture: John Feder

Director PJ Hogan at STC. Picture: John FederSource:News Corp Australia

The original film is so musical — but so much of that music comes from ABBA. Mamma Mia!’s huge success must’ve presented a bit of a stumbling block?

It always prevented the show becoming a musical prior to this. We were very lucky to get ABBA for the movie — Benny and Bjorn said no to us so many times before they finally just gave in. I think they were afraid I was so obsessed I was going to show up in Stockholm so just said yes to keep me away. When Mamma Mia! hit, there was obviously no way they’d allow another musical to compete. But time’s passed, Mamma Mia!’s run its course … ABBA always loved the movie, and they were ready.

Source : http://www.news.com.au/entertainment/movies/muriels-wedding-was-almost-a-very-different-film-director-pj-hogan-reveals/news-story/919986d35deab6f9d3f9aee3f93e0f4a

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