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Mar 07 2020

If "Company" were a movie...

by Lynn Lee

Companymay be approaching its 50th birthday, but it’s never looked hipper – not that it ever really went out of fashion.But between its prominent appearance in last year’sMarriage Story, a recent successful gender-switched revival in London that’s transferring to Broadway (previews just started!), Sondheim’s musical about a thirtysomething Manhattan bachelor and his various coupled friends is definitely having a(nother) moment.

Which raises the inevitable question: why hasn’t anyone tried to make a movie out of it?Could it even work as a movie?I think it could...

True,Companydoesn’t really have a plot – it’s more a series of sketches and conversations revolving around the commitment-shy Bobby's 35th birthday – and let’s face it, with a couple of notable exceptions, most of Bobby’s friends tend to blur together as characters.Even Bobby can register as opaque at best, a cipher at worst.Yet the themes and questions Sondheim plays out without ever quite resolving – the meaning of commitment, companionship, sexuality, maturity – remain eternally relevant, even as the music runs the stylistic gamut from ’20s vaudeville to a swinging, late ’60s sound to Sondheim’s own signature mix of jagged and tender melodies.There’s plenty of reason to believe that done right, Bobby (or Bobbie)’s ongoing dialogue with his/her not-so-smug “marrieds” and not-so-significant others would resonate just as sharply on the screen as it does on stage.I’d love to see Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig take on the project together, or maybe someone like Damien Chazelle.(Thanks but no thanks, Rob Marshall.)

But – skipping to the most fun part of imagining such an adaptation – who would star in this hypothetical movie?


Anyone who saw Adam Driver belt out an emotionally cathartic “Being Alive” near the end ofMarriage Storymight be tempted to award him the central role of Bobby.And he’d be great.However, I have to admit I’ve set my heart onOscar Isaac.Dude can turn the charm on and, most importantly, he can sing like a dream and hasn’t had the chance to do it in a movie since…well, since his breakout inInside Llewyn Davis.He also hasn’t had a really good movie role in a while (not counting Poe Dameron, if you count that).

Alternates:Jonathan Groff;Donald Glover;Justin Timberlake;Chris Pine;maybe Tom Hiddleston?(I didn’t seeI Saw the Light, can he actually sing?) Some combo of these guys could also play Bobby’s male married friends – except for Larry, Joanne’s husband, who should probably be a bit older.(Apart from Joanne and Larry, I’d mostly want to stay in the age range of mid-30s to early 40s for most of the casting.)

If it’s a “Bobbie”:Anne Hathawaycould knock this out of the park.


Who could ever live up to Elaine Stritch (famously losing it during the cast album recording above)A.k.a.Queen of “The Ladies Who Lunch”: I know some of you are thinking Meryl Streep…but at 70 she’s too old.Notwithstanding that the great Patti Lupone, who’s Meryl’s age, took on the role in the 2018 London production and is reprising it on Broadway, I envision Joanne as only about 10 years older than Bobby and the rest.I proposeCatherine Zeta-Jones, who can sing and do world-weary with the best of them and is overdue for a show-stopping return to the big screen.(Idina Menzelwould also be great.) And maybeJohn C.Reillyas Joanne’s husband Larry?


Cold-feet bride Amy has to read neurotic and be able to carry off the hilariously frantic patter of “Not Getting Married Today” –Anna Kendrickcould nail this.Meanwhile, Paul has to be patient and adoring;I’m seeingJoseph Gordon-Levittwith his puppy dog eyes.

Gender switch?In the London revival (and I assume the Broadway one too), this couple is same-sex and “Amy” becomes the male “Jamie.” Haven’t really thought through who could be a good Jamie –Neil Patrick Harris, perhaps, although he’s pushing the outer age limit.Other thoughts?


April(the flight attendant who may not be as vapid as she seems) –Zooey Deschanel

Marta(the “tacky” city girl) – Anna Kendrick would be a hoot if she isn’t cast as Amy or one of the other wives, but either of herPitch Perfectco-starsBrittany SnoworAnna Campcould pull it off, too.
Kathy(the one that got away) – MaybeZoe SaldanaorTessa Thompson?OrLily James, although she’s on the edge of being too young.

Gender switch?Matt Bomer, Edgar Ramirez, andSterling K.Brownare easy on the eyes and can croon, too, from what I’ve heard.(参见列表交替的罗伯特。)


(Sarah/Harry, Susan/Peter, Jenny/David)

I’ve already listed plenty of potential candidates for the men;as for the women, in addition to those already mentioned, don’t forget thatEmmy Rossum, Amanda Seyfried, Emily Blunt, Kristen Bell, andCynthia Erivoare all fine actresses who can sing proficiently (and in Erivo’s case, divinely) and deserve all the good work they can get.

Sondheim fans - do you thinkCompanycould work as a movie?And how would you cast it?

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Reader Comments (22)

Adam Driver is not a great singer, so I would hope he isn't the automatic de facto choice, if this were to be made.I think a better choice would be Patrick Wilson.Sure, he's not an two-time Oscar nominee, but he is a two-time Tony Award nominee and I think singing should be the primary requisite to play this role.

March 7, 2020 | 未注册的批评家Jonathan Lewis

I love Company and believe it could be an intriguing film about contemporary urban lifestyles.

I agree with Ms.Lee that many of the roles lack definition.However, that could be an advantage.if the film were set during a Broadway revival of Company where we see the characters live the show on stage but the camera allows us to see the actors in their off stage relationships where the numbers also become commentary on the hook ups and affairs occurring within the cast.That gives the songs added depth and the players have nuance to enrich characterization as they essentially play two roles.

My choice from Bobby is Leslie Odom, Jr, Tony winner for Hamilton.I am weary of movies about New York with all white casts.And Odom is terrific.

The more challenging choice is the director who understands the theater and how music can explore characterization.I would be fascinated to see what Barbra Streisand could do with such a project.She is a longtime trusted collaborator with Sondheim.It could be magical.

March 7, 2020 | 未注册的批评家James

This article reminded me - wasn’t there talk of doing a film version of ‘Follies’ awhile back with Queen Meryl?

March 7, 2020 | 未注册的批评家Tony

Jake Gylenhaal as Bobby.
Raul Esparza should have won the Tony!

March 7, 2020 | 未注册的批评家Fadhil

The idea of Company turning into a movie gives me the hibbie jibbies because we all know they would only cast big names with little voices.

I'm going to watch Raúl Esparza belting Being Alive at the Tonys to calm down.

March 7, 2020 | 未注册的批评家Peggy Sue

No fucking Meryl Streep, please

March 7, 2020 | 未注册的批评家Donna Murphy

I saw the new show on Broadway this week and it was wonderful.

I 100% agree that Bobby must be relatable.That is the downfall with many a production of Company, since his aloofness can also distance him from the audience.I loved NPH in the 2011 Lincoln Center production mostly because, despite some deficiencies in his voice, he knew how to connect with the audience.

I'm terrible at casting, but I would suggest Emma Stone for Sarah since she has great comedic timing and doesn't have to sing all that much.Andrew Rannells would be a great Jamie if they stick with the idea of Amy/Paul being Jamie/Paul instead, which they absolutely should because the queenie hissy fit in this production is aces.And I'd love to see Jeremy Jordan as Bobby any day so why not in a film?This is not a role that you want to hand to a famous actor with a mediocre voice.

March 7, 2020 | 未注册的批评家Evan

Interesting comments from TFE friends out there -
For Lynn - thank you for this great article.But curious regarding your suggestions - isn't Bobby supposed to be 35?
A main decision regarding casting would hinge on what time period the film takes place in.I assume a reason there hasn't been a film version is because it is so contemporary (for 1970) - in a wonderful way, but dated, if you will.So if you change the year it takes place in, then the script would alter, casting opens up, etc.But if you leave it in it's original form, then I don't see how you don't make it an all white cast.Am I ignorant?:)

I think it would be fascinating to have a film version of the 1970 book - warts and all.It seems like filmmakers are afraid to make films that accurately capture the past (specifically, representing the reality of sexism, homophobia, racism, etc) because modern audiences are happy to lynch anything and everything that doesn't fit in their politically-correct viewpoint.

A wonderful challenge for any filmmaker!!I hope it happens.

March 7, 2020 | 未注册的批评家Ellsworth

Taron Egerton has the voice and the talent to make Bobby real as real can be.

March 7, 2020 | 未注册的批评家Luc

I love Company.So much.But I don’t think it would really work as a narrative film.But if we’re playing the casting game ...

Funnily enough, given the mention of Odom, for Bobby my mind went to Hamilton too, But I was thinking Daveed Diggs.I’d also enjoy seeing Gordon-Levitt in that part.Or maybe Aaron Tveit?Although I certainly would object to Oscar Isaac.

艾玛 Stone is a good suggestion for Sarah.I’d pick Amanda Seyfried for April and Cynthia Erivo would be great Marta.我有点像发现了艾米一些新的喜剧女演员/歌手倒是。

我对乔安妮首先想到的是贝贝·内斯。或者可以芭芭拉沃尔什仍然这样做呢?其他可能性,至少我很好奇的部分看 - 克里斯汀·切诺维斯或玛莎·普林顿。

March 7, 2020 | 未注册的批评家ScottC


March 8, 2020 | 未注册的批评家瓦尔







March 8, 2020 | 未注册的批评家ERICB


March 8, 2020 | 未注册的批评家标记



March 8, 2020 | 未注册的批评家帕蒂


March 8, 2020 | 未注册的批评家丹·汉弗莱



瓦尔 - 我完全看到(由斯派克·李执导全黑铸)。

乔纳森·刘易斯 - 我没* *考虑帕特里克·威尔森,但在46,他就是我一直在寻找的年龄范围之外的一点,至少鲍比。同样的原因,我nixed艾米·亚当斯。


马克 - 有趣的是公司真正没有一个情节。真。它只是一个花花公子谁仍然单一,在35和他所有的已婚的朋友坚持他应该结婚,但也让他是否应该是很复杂的信号。因此,为什么使它成为一个电影将是具有挑战性的,但也不是不可能。

March 8, 2020 | 未注册的批评家李琳


March 8, 2020 | 未注册的批评家兰斯伯里

@Patti - 没有必要是讽刺。我GOOGLE了它,它只是让我感到困惑多,只是当我试图找出什么猫是怎么回事。

@李琳 - 谢谢你的阴谋。当然这可能是进行有趣movide。

March 8, 2020 | 未注册的批评家标记


March 8, 2020 | 未注册的批评家Jaragon

克里斯蒂娜亨德里克斯起到4月,我觉得在拍摄现场的制法是,用一个尼尔·帕特里克·哈里斯?她可以唱歌。虽然我真的很想看到劳尔的指控 lead.If he is too old perhaps they can gender reverse the ladies who lunch and have him sing that.

If we are gender reversing Bobby can we just get Cynthia Erivo to do that part?Why give that voice a supporting part when she can carry the whole show?

March 8, 2020 | 未注册的批评家Tom G.

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