November 2021

4 facts about the movie “The Greatest Showman”

Did you know

The Greatest Showman is a 2017 American musical drama film which grossed $435 million worldwide at the box office. The movie stars Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron and Zendaya. The movie was nominated for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy at the 75th Golden Globe Awards as well as Best Original Song at the 90th Academy Award.

Based on a real person and his circus

The movie is set in the early 1800s in New York City and is based on P.T. Barnum who founded the Barnum & Bailey Circus. He was famous for promoting hoaxes and human curiosities such as the Fiji mermaid and General Tom Thumb. Barnum only started his circus business when he was 60 years old in 1870 before it was merged with James Bailey’s circus to form Barnum & Bailey Circus in 1881.

It took 7 years to start development

The Greatest Showman was a project that was dear to the heart of Hugh Jackman. The idea first came to him in 2009 but it only got the greenlight in 2015. Hugh Jackman was so passionate for this project that he continued working even after surgery for nose cancer. His doctor had clear instructions not to sing at the rehearsals. However, bigwigs from the studio were at the rehearsal and it was a critical junction to decide if the movie was to be made. Hugh Jackman and the cast were performing scenes from the movie. Hugh was acting out the scenes while another performer sang on his behalf. But finally for the last scene, Hugh Jackman broke out in song hoping to impress the studio producers and fortunately he did.

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“Rewrite The Stars"
It was the director’s first movie

The Greatest Showman was Michael Gracey’s first movie as a director. Hugh Jackman had sent the script to Michael Gracey and they decided to take up the challenge of doing an original musical. There was a lot of pressure to do a jukebox musical with songs that were already popular but both Hugh and Michael felt strongly about creating an original musical with original songs.

They chose to work with the relatively unknown Benj Pasek and Justin Paul at the time. But their musical talent was clear to see after composing the songs for La La land and winning the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 2017. The song “This is Me” from the Greatest Showman which was also composed by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul won the Best Original Song in the Golden Globe Award in 2018.

Zendaya did many of her acrobatic stunts

Zendaya plays a trapeze artist in the Barnum Circus who falls in love with Zac Efron’s character in The Greatest Showman. Her role is an introverted, audacious and self-conscious African American women at a time where racial discrimination against African Americans was rift.

As a talented star, Zendaya decided to do the eye catching stunts in the movie herself. She trained her core and upper body strength in order to pull off some of the most difficult trapeze stunts for the movie. One of the most famous scenes in the movie was the impressive aerial stunt with Zac Efron in the musical number “Rewrite The Stars” where she is seen singing while flying across the stage.

Both actors suffered numerous bruises and injuries while filming this scene with numerous outtakes where both actors are swinging and slamming into each other before hanging limp in the air. However, the final cut of this scene was worth the effort as it is one of the most beautiful performances in the movie.

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'The Greatest Showman'

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