I don’t have a huge amount of time for stage musicals. A lot of them are self-indulgent, full of very cheesy music and overly sentimental. But I will always have time for Little Shop of Horrors.
The tale of a nerdy, lovesick florist trying to win a woman’s heart while catering to the murderous appetites of a giant carnivorous plant pushes all my buttons. And now it seems that Warner Bros. are going ahead with their long-delayed remake, are eyeing Taron Egerton and Scarlett Johansson for leads Seymour and Audrey, and have Pose star Billy Porter lined up to voice man-eating plant Audrey II.
The genesis of Little Shop of Horrors began with a 1960 B-movie by Roger Corman, but most will be familiar with the 1982 stage musical by Alan Menken. That was subsequently adapted into Frank Oz’s 1986 movie starring Rick Moranis and Ellen Greene (with appearances by comedy luminaries Steve Martin, John Candy, Christopher Guest and Bill Murray).
It’ll be interesting to see how they approach a modern Little Shop of Horrors. Despite apparently being a goofy horror-comedy, it’s a pretty dark film. Leaving aside that the hero commits multiple murders during the pic, the film opens with the song “Skid Row,” a toe-tapping comedy number about poverty, depression and alcoholism.
Meanwhile, female lead Audrey Fulquard is a rape victim and suffers domestic abuse throughout most of the movie. It’s the kind of plot that seems destined to be dubbed “problematic.”
However, dealing with this stuff is precisely why Little Shop of Horrors succeeds where so many other musicals fail. I’m sure Egerton and Johansson can knock both these roles out of the park (Egerton has previously played Seymour on stage), too, so let’s hope the direction and script live up to the 1986 classic.