Ice Cube, Marc Platt, and “Hamilton” director Thomas Kail are developing a contemporary movie musical based on Charles Dickens’ “Oliver Twist.”
Cube will produce through his Cube Vision company and star as Fagin, the elderly leader of a gang of pickpockets in London. Jeff Kwatinetz of The Firm is also producing.
Kail is in negotiations to direct. The movie will be set in present-day America and use a combination of musical styles. Cube and Kwatinetz are writing the treatment.
Platt is a prolific producer of movies and musicals, including awards season contender “La La Land,” Disney’s upcoming “Mary Poppins Returns,” Fox TV’s “Grease Live,” and the Broadway musical “Wicked.”
Kail directed “Grease Live!,” which starred Julianne Hough and Vanessa Hudgens, and helmed Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musicals “In the Heights” and “Hamilton,” for which he won a Tony.
Dickens began publishing “Oliver Twist” in 1837 — a story of an orphan who starts his life in a workhouse, is sold into apprenticeship with an undertaker, and escapes to join a gang of juvenile pickpockets.
The story has been adapted many times into stage plays and films. The 1968 movie musical “Oliver!,” directed by Carol Reed and starring Ron Moody as Fagin, won six Academy Awards, including best picture and best director.
On the TV front, NBC and Silver Pictures Television are developing a pilot-script deal for “Twist,” a “sexy, contemporary,” female-led adaptation of “Oliver Twist.”
Cube was a co-founder of the iconic rap group N.W.A and a producer on the group’s biopic “Straight Outta Compton.” He’s produced both “Ride Along” movies, “Barbershop: The Next Cut,” and “Beauty Shop.” He will next be seen in the New Line comedy “Fist Fight,” on which he’s an exec producer.