Film News

New Film Version of the Musical Oliver! in the Works

”Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell”’s Toby Haynes to direct.

A scene from the 1968 film Oliver!.
A scene from the 1968 film Oliver!, with Mark Lester in the title role.

Lionel Bart's beloved musical Oliver! will soon get a new movie adaptation, according to Variety. The film, which will likely get the official go-ahead in the next several weeks, is to be directed by Toby Haynes, of the BBC miniseries Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell.

The new Oliver!, which Variety suggests will be "grittier" than the 1968 movie version, will likely begin shooting in early 2016 in advance of a winter 2016 release. Broadway veteran director and choreographer Matthew Bourne may be in talks to choreograph.

In addition to his work on Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, which starred Broadway veteran Bertie Carvel, Toby Haynes is known for having helmed acclaimed television episodes including the first episode of the BBC’s The Musketeers, the final episode the BBC's Sherlock's second season, and Doctor Who's season five finale.

Oliver!, an adaptation of Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist that features a book, music, and lyrics by Lionel Bart, was first seen on Broadway in 1963. It has since been revived once, with a 1984 staging starring Patti LuPone as Nancy and the late Ron Moody as Fagin. In 1968, a film version of the musical, which also starred Ron Moody, was produced by Romulus Films and distributed by Columbia Pictures.