Richard Linklater Developing Film ‘Blue Moon’ On Famed American Songwriters Richard Rodgers & Lorenz Hart, Their Parting Of Ways

EXCLUSIVE: As his acclaimed comedic thriller Hit Man approaches its June 7 release on Netflix, filmmaker Richard Linklater may have identified his next project, as sources tell Deadline that he’s in development on a film called Blue Moon.

Taking its name from the 1934 ballad written by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart, the film follows Hart as he attempts to save face while celebrating his former partner Rodgers’ great success on the night of his musical Oklahoma!‘s Broadway opening. While it’s believed that this will end up being Linklater’s next film, that’s not entirely clear at present.

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We’re told that Robert Kaplow — co-writer of Linklater’s 2008 film Me and Orson Welles — penned the script for Blue Moon and that Linklater will produce the project alongside his manager John Sloss.

A legendary American songwriting duo known for their contributions to musical theater, Rodgers and Hart collaborated between 1919 and the early 1940s, with Rodgers serving as composer and Hart as lyricist. During their time together, they created 28 stage musicals including A Connecticut Yankee, Babes in Arms and Pal Joey and penned more than 500 songs.

The Rodgers and Hart partnership ended primarily due to Hart’s increasing struggles with alcoholism and mental health issues, which made it challenging for him to work consistently. In 1943, Rodgers began a new collaboration with Oscar Hammerstein II to work on Oklahoma!, which was deemed revolutionary for its seamless integration of music, lyrics, and dance into the storytelling, setting a new standard for musical theater. The success of the show established Rodgers and Hammerstein as one of the most successful duos in musical theater history, leading to such other iconic works as Carousel, South Pacific, The King and I and The Sound of Music.

Upon its premiere at last year’s Venice Film Festival, Linklater’s latest effort Hit Man, starring Glen Powell and Adria Arjona, drew a six-minute standing ovation. Loosely based on a 2001 Texas Monthly true-crime article, the film centers on Gary Johnson (Powell), a professor moonlighting as a hit man of sorts for his city police department who descends into dangerous, dubious territory when he finds himself attracted to a woman (Arjona) who enlists his services. The buzz around the film is strong, as a breakout project for Powell, even if Linklater’s cast wasn’t able to promote it last fall amid the actors strike. Netflix swooped in to acquire the film out of TIFF for $20 million, in one of the big deals of the festival.

Linklater is a five-time Oscar nominee, including three for 2014’s Boyhood — which was shot over 11 years — and writing noms for Before Sunset and Before Midnight. His films also include Dazed and Confused, SubUrbia, School of Rock, Bernie, Everybody Wants Some!! and Where’d You Go Bernadette? He recently directed on and exec produced Max’s docuseries God Save Texas, which premiered at Sundance in January. Prior to that, he wrote, directed and produced the animated film Apollo 10 1⁄2: A Space Age Childhood, which premiered at SXSW.

Currently, he’s in the midst of another long-term project, à la Boyhood, with Merrily We Roll Along, a feature adaptation of the Stephen Sondheim musical, starring Paul Mescal, Ben Platt and Beanie Feldstein, which is shooting intermittently over the course of 20 years.

Linklater is repped by CAA, Cinetic Media, and Sloss Eckhouse Dasti Haynes LawCo.

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