Todd Graff Set to Direct 'Damn Yankees' Film; Carrey & Gyllenhaal to Star
Todd Graff, Tony Award nominated actor for his performance in Baby, as well as director of the films Bandslam and Camp, is set to direct the upcoming film of the Broadway musical Damn Yankees, according to deadline.com. As previously announced, Jim Carrey is attached to play Applegate, while Jake Gyllenhaal is expected to play Joe Hardy. The film will be produced by New Line Cinema and producing team Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, who produced the Academy Award winning film, Chicago.
Graff is expected to do a rewrite of the screenplay, originally by Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel. The film is expected to be a modern adapation of the classic musical.
Damn Yankees has music and lyrics by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross, book by George Abbott and Douglass Wallop and is based on Wallop's novel "The Year the Yankees Lost the Pennant." It is the story of Joe Boyd, the ultimate baseball fan, who sells his soul to the Devil for the chance to help his team win the pennant race against the Yankees. The Devil is aided by the sexy Lola, who seduces a now younger, physically transformed Joe, but ultimately helps him outsmart the Devil and return to his beloved wife.
Damn Yankees opened on Broadway at the 46th Street Theatre on May 5, 1955, transferred to the Adelphi Theatre on May 16, 1957, and ran for a total of 1,019 performances. Directed by George Abbott, the production starred Gwen Verdon in the role of seductive temptress Lola and Ray Walston in the part of Mr. Applegate (the Devil). The musical also featured Jean Stapleton, long before she achieved television fame as Edith Bunker.
Graff's writing credits include Used People, The Vanishing, and The Beautician and the Beast. As an actor, Graff appeared in several films including Death to Smoochy, Dominick and Eugene, Strange Days, Not Quite Paradise, and The Abyss. He was nominated for a Tony Award for his portrayal of Danny in Broadway's Baby in 1984.
Zadan and Meron have collaborated on countless successful projects including the recent "Hairspray" film, the made for television "A Raisin in the Sun", the Oscar winning film "Chicago", and a recent collaboration with Lifetime on the film "Living Proof" featuring Rene Zellweger, Harry Connick, Jr. and Bernadette Peters.
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