Walt Disney Studios have announced they are developing an original movie musical based on the songbook by iconic vocalist Lionel Richie, Variety has reported. With the working title “All Night Long”, based off his 1983 No.1 hit, the project is being produced by Richie and his manager Bruce Eskowitz, along with Cavalry Media executives Dana Brunetti and Matt Del Piano.
The hit screenwriter Pete Chiarelli (Crazy Rich Asians, The Proposal) is writing the original script, and the project will utilise some of Richie’s biggest hits in a live-action project. While the musical is still in the early stages of development, Disney has plans for a theatrical release in the future.
Richie, who’s been a staple on the Disney-owned ABC’s American Idol, sold the pitch to Disney back in January.
While jukebox musicals have been hugely popular since ABBA’s Mama Mia stage and theatrical franchise, musical movies have also been cleaning up at the awards shows thanks to the success of the Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody and last year’s Rocketman based on Elton John’s career.
In 2018, Bohemian Rhapsody grossed over $900 million worldwide and its star Rami Malek won the Academy Award for Best Actor, while Rocketman earned nearly $200 million worldwide and earned star Taron Egerton a Golden Globe.
Before he was a mainstay on American Idol, Richie rose to fame as one of the biggest pop stars of the 80s thanks to his smash hits ‘All Night Long’, ‘Hello’, ‘Endless Love’, ‘Dancing on the Ceiling’ and countless others. He has four Grammy awards to his name, an Oscar for ‘Say You Say Me’ from the film White Nights and has sold over 100 million records worldwide.
Prior to his solo career, he notched a number of hits with his funk and soul group The Commodores, becoming one of the best-selling Motown acts of the 1970s.
Richie has also written for songs for other artists, most famously the charity single, ‘We Are The World’ with Michael Jackson.
Along with hosting American Idol, Richie had a European tour scheduled, following the success of his Las Vegas residency that was postponed due to the pandemic.
He recently gave a career-spanning interview to Rolling Stone, where he talked about turning 70 and what lies ahead.