Pop quiz: what are you doing on a Friday night about 20 years from now? If you answered, “confronting my existential dread at a screening of a Sondheim movie musical,” congratulations and my condolences—you are correct. Collider is reporting that director Richard Linklater has taken on the task of a filming a movie version of Sondheim’s decades-spanning musical Merrily We Roll Along with Ben Platt, soon-to-be Tracy Flicking his was through The Politician, and Beanie Feldstein, star of Booksmart, and something’s coming… not-so-soon. Linklater, who made the movie Boyhood over the course of 12 years, has decided to take the same approach with Merrily… which follows three friends over 20 years of their lives as they are pulled apart by fame and ambition. The musical begins as Platt’s character is at the pinnacle of his career and then moves backwards over 20 years, so the team will film the last scenes now and will, presumably, return to film the rest later as time continues to drag us through life.
So. Okay. What I want you to do is imagine yourself in 20 years, having just returned from the front lines of the culture wars where you fought a hologram of Dick Cheney for a soy nugget, going to your the Amazon Virtual Multiplex on the oceanic coast of Nebraska, and paying 130 Euros to watch Ben Platt and Beanie Feldstein Benjamin Button-themselves. A fun evening of singing, dancing, and being confronted by your own mortality!
The future. What a concept! You’re telling me I have to, like, continue to live? For two decades? In this economy?
Merrily We Roll Along will be here before we know it. It’s only just out of reach, down the block, on a beach, under a tree, separated by roughly two decades of linear time.
On the one hand, I’m very excited about this because Sondheim + stunts is very much my thing. On the other hand, what if we just used the FaceApp on Ben and Beanie and called it a day? I bought Julianne Moore’s aging make-up in The Hours; I’ll believe anything. Throw a gray wig on them and keep it moving!
I barely have the patience to wait until 2021 for the next Black Panther. Now you’re telling me I have wait the equivalent of Lil Nas X’s entire life for a movie? By the time this movie comes out I will be lucky if I’m not six feet under the “Old Town Road.” Call me Prior from Angels in America: Perestroika cuz I want more life!
Side note: I googled “celebrities who are 20” to write that last paragraph, 70% of them are YouTube stars, and I have literally never heard of any of them. TIME, WHAT A TREAT.
This movie is a live-action version of the “Want to feel old?” meme. I’m going to be walking into the movie theater looking like The Witch from Into the Woods before she drank the potion. I’m not good, I’m not nice, I’m just ready to see this film that I bought tickets for on Fandango before the Great Space War. It’s the last midnight screening. This is literally my last wish.
Inspirational thought: there is a baby being being born today who, when this movie comes out, will be like “LOL whut?”
It’s true: 20 years is not that long a time. But it also true that Merrily We Roll Along is an entire musical about how much can change over the course of two decades. So, you tell me: what is the truth? Here’s an original thought that I just thought of myself: It’s a very short road from the pinch and the punch to the paunch and the pouch and the pension. Just something to think about!
I should probably start training now to win the Hunger Games so I can get permission to watch this film. Yes, food is great but what I really hunger for is complex lyrical structure! Pump it directly into my veins (which will probably be how we watch movies in 20 years.) Ah well, we don’t have any choice but to wait. Another original thought from my brain: stop worrying where you’re going! Move on! If you can know where you’re going, you’ve gone. Just keep moving on. See you at the movie theater in roughly 9,000 Scaramuccis!