Guys and Dolls, Frank Loesser’s classic Broadway show, is an American classic. Based on the writings of New York City newspaper columnist and short fiction writer Damon Runyon, the play chronicles the gambling underground of New York City and the competition between two notorious gamblers and their romantic entanglements.
Its opening number, Can Do, is three horseplayers singing about who they will bet on in a round. It’s famous among racing fans and was used in the opening credits of the movie Let It Ride.
Loesser sold the rights to make the play into a movie in 1955 and the screenplay was written by Joseph Mankiewicz, who also directed. The movie starred Marlon Brando and Frank Sinatra. Loesser strongly disagreed with the choice of Sinatra for the movie and as a result had a very public falling out with the singer that lasted his entire life. Loesser’s family carried the grudge on past his grave, refusing to ever again sell the rights to a remake of the film for many decades.
This year Loesser’s widow, Jo Loesser, relented and agreed to sell the rights to a remake to 20th Century Fox. Not sure what prompted the sudden change of heart. The only details that have been released about the remake are that Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Channing Tatum have been attached. There is not yet a director or screenwriter for the project.
Gordon-Levitt will be playing Sky Masterson, the role played by Marlon Brando in the movie; and Tatum will play Nathan Detroit, the role played by Sinatra. Perhaps Jo Loesser is a much bigger fan of Channing Tatum than her late husband was of Sinatra. Perhaps she was moved by his *ahem* acting in last year’s Magic Mike, where Tatum played a male stripper.
Whatever her reasons, it’s a remake to look forward to. Where many modern Hollywood remakes do a far worse job than the original, Guys and Dolls has remained a popular show through multiple stage revivals for more than a half-century. Male strippers notwithstanding, this guy says the film has chance.