Columbia Pictures to develop My Fair Lady with CBS Films

Mumbai: Columbia Pictures has entered into an agreement with CBS Films to create a new motion picture of the Lerner and Loewe classic musical My Fair Lady. Columbia Pictures presidents Doug Belgrad and Matt Tolmach announced the film that is to be produced by Duncan Kenworthy and Cameron Mackintosh. CBS Films will be actively involved in the development of the new film.

The new film will use the original songs of the much-loved Broadway show, and will not alter its 1912 setting, but Kenworthy and Mackintosh intend where possible to shoot the film on location in the original London settings of Covent Garden, Drury Lane, Tottenham Court Road, Wimpole Street, and Ascot racecourse.

The filmmaking team will also look to adapt Alan Jay Lerner’s book more fully for the screen by drawing additional material from Pygmalion — George Bernard Shaw’s play that served as the source material for the musical — in order to dramatize as believably as possible for present-day audiences the emotional highs and lows of Eliza Doolittle as she undergoes the ultimate makeover, transforming under the tutelage of Professor Henry Higgins from a Cockney flower girl to a lady.

Belgrad said, "My Fair Lady is not just the quintessential stage musical and classic film, but a fantastic story. We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to bring it to the screen once again."

"My Fair Lady’s extraordinary tale of a man turning a flower girl into a lady, and then falling for her, combines one of the most powerful narratives in world literature with some of the wittiest and most winning songs ever written for the stage," said Mackintosh.

Kenworthy said, "When George Cukor shot his wonderful film entirely on sets inside Warner’s Burbank soundstages, Lerner and Loewe’s smash hit musical had been running on Broadway for seven years, and the film was appropriately reverential and inevitably theatrical."

"With forty years of hindsight, we’re confident that by setting these wonderful characters and brilliant songs in a more realistic context, and by exploring Eliza’s emotional journey more fully, we will honor both Shaw and Lerner at the same time as engaging and entertaining contemporary audiences the world over. The casting of Eliza is crucial, and we are currently in discussion with a major international star to play the role," he added.

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