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Zac Efron to Join Hugh Jackman in P.T. Barnum Musical Biopic THE GREATEST SHOWMAN ON EARTH?

Zac Efron could soon make a return to his musical roots.

According to Variety, Zac Efron (who got his start in the HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL franchise and later starred in the film adaptation of HAIRSPRAY,) is currently in negotiations to join Hugh Jackman in 20th Century Fox's P.T. Barnum musical biopic THE GREATEST SHOWMAN ON EARTH.

At this year's CinemaCon in Las Vegas, studio execs confirmed that the film is currently 'a go' for 2017. 'SHOWMAN' has been in development since 2009.

Tony Award winner Jackman will star as Barnum in Michael Gracey's directorial debut. In February, a reading of the project was presented to producers featuring a cast including Tony winner Cynthia Erivo, Keala Settle, Carrie Manolakos, Marcus Paul James, Adam Halpin, Natalie Weiss, Loren Allred, Tamika Lawrence, Alison Luff, and Ben Thompson.

THE GREATEST SHOWMAN ON EARTH has a screenplay by SEX & THE CITY scribe Jenny Bicks and BIG HERO 6's Jordan Roberts, with a subsequent draft written by DREAMGIRLS's Bill Condon and the final draft by THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU's Jonathan Tropper. Tony nominated songwriters Benj Pasek and Justin Paul have written the score, with musical contributions by Brian Lapin, Bonnie McKee and Jake Shears.

This will not be the first time the LIFE STORY of P.T. Barnum will be portrayed through music. In the early 1980's, Jim Dale and Glenn Close starred in the Cy Coleman/Michael Stewart Broadway musical BARNUM. It was later presented on video via the West End mounting with Michael Crawford in the title role. P.T. Barnum's story has made its way to celluloid over the decades, as well, with the title of this new film project alluding most notably to 1952's Oscar-winning circus-set THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH.

Photo by Kathy Strain

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