Producer Charlie Lyons (The Water Horse, The Guardian, Ladder 49), director Jay Russell (The Water Horse, Ladder 49, My Dog Skip) and actor Tim Guinee (NBC's "Revolution", Showtime's "Homeland", "Iron Man I & II") worked for two years to acquire the theatrical stage rights to the most famous and beloved of all noir short stories, "Rear Window" (aka "It Had to be Murder"). This unique producing consortium announced today their plans to mount a Broadway production of the iconic and haunting tale of the wheelchair bound witness to a possible murder in his neighboring New York City apartment. Although the Broadway rights in this story have been repeatedly sought over the years from the Sheldon Abend Revocable Trust and its predecessors, this is the first option ever granted.
"Rear Window" was written in 1942 by noted author, Cornell Woolrich. With fans such as Ray Bradbury, who once proclaimed that Woolrich "deserves to be discovered and rediscovered by each generation," Mr. Woolrich carries the distinction of being the most adapted crime novelist of all time including, of course, for the classic 1954 motion picture "Rear Window" directed by Alfred Hitchcock.
Lyons and Russell have collaborated for over a decade on a variety of projects including the hit motion picture Ladder 49, starring Academy Award nominees John Travolta and Joaquin Phoenix. Guinee appeared in Ladder 49, where he met Lyons and Russell, among his many film and TV credits and is now a regular on the new NBC hit show "Revolution."
"This is a tremendously exciting project," said Lyons. "We are assembling a world-class team of artists to bring this timeless thriller to the stage." Russell adds, "Woolrich's story is deliciously dark and edgy and our plan is to make it brand new all over again."
Lyons' current Broadway show Bring It On: The Musical has extended its run at the St. James Theatre through December 30.
Charlie Lyons (Producer) is an established film and stage producer and financier. Lyons is the Managing Partner of Holding Pictures and a partner in Beacon Communications. Beacon and Holding Pictures have generated over three billion dollars of film revenues, with critically-acclaimed libraries of over 40 movies. Holding's films include The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep, Open Range, The Guardian, Firewall, Ladder 49, Raising Helen, A Lot Like Love and PU-239. Beacon's library includes The Hurricane, Air Force One, The Family Man, Spy Game, For Love of the Game and Thirteen Days. Lyons also produces the popular Bring It On franchise, which consists of five motion pictures and a musical. The phenomenon, Bring It On, has been seen by over 100 million people and has generated over a billion dollars in revenue. Lyons is a creator, producer, and presenter of Bring It On: The Musical currently on Broadway at the St. James Theatre, which has extended its run from Oct 7 to Dec 30.
Jay Russell (Director) Best known for directing critically acclaimed, audience pleasing fare, filmmaker Jay Russell has an impressive track record of telling compelling stories with emotional resonance. Russell got his first break at the age of 19, helming a series of commercials for the Arkansas Parks and Tourism division. Like his boss at the time, Governor Bill Clinton, Russell would go on to bigger and better things. A native of North Little Rock, Arkansas, Russell won a number of regional honors for his music while in high school and then received a full music scholarship to Memphis University. While in Memphis, Russell's passion for music was supplanted, however, by another longtime passion – namely, filmmaking. Russell continued his post?grad studies at Columbia University in New York City, where he studied under the tutelage of Academy Award winning director Milos Forman. After receiving his MFA in Screenwriting and Directing, Russell was invited to attend the famed Sundance Institute Film Workshop, working alongside Academy Award winner Robert Redford. It was there that Russell began development on what would become his first film, End of the Line (1988), a tale of two down?and?out railway workers named Leo and Will (played by Levon Helm and Wilford Brimley) The cast also included Kevin Bacon and Academy Award winners Mary Steenburgen and Holly Hunter. End of the Line was well received at Sundance and won a theatrical release by Sony Classics. After End of the Line, Russell developed a number of projects for Ron Howard and Brian Grazer's Imagine Entertainment, as well as Tri?Star Pictures. Russell also found success at that time in the world of reality television and documentaries. In the mid 1990's, Russell produced a number of documentary series and specials for NBC, CBS, The Learning Channel, and the Discovery Channel. In 1997, PBS approached Russell to write, produce, and direct "Great Drives", a five?hour miniseries on America's most famous highways. It was during the filming of "Great Drives" that Russell met Pulitzer nominated author Willie Morris. At the time, Morris was working on an autobiographical memoir about his childhood. When the book, "My Dog Skip", became a national bestseller, Russell – who had stayed in regular contact with Morris ?secured the movie rights to the book. In 2000, Warner Bros. released the Russell Produced and Directed film adaptation of My Dog Skip, which starred Kevin Bacon, Frankie Muniz, Luke Wilson and Diane Lane. The film was a hit with critics and audiences alike and eventually went on to score numerous awards, including the 2001 Critic's Choice Award for Best Family Film. Russell followed up with Walt Disney's Tuck Everlasting (2002) – starring Alexis Bledel ("Gilmore Girls") along with Academy Award winners, Sir Ben Kingsley, William Hurt and Sissy Spacek. The well?received fantasy was also nominated for a Critic's Choice Award for Best Family Film of 2002. In 2004, Russell tackled his most commercial and adult?oriented project yet with Disney/Touchstone Pictures Ladder 49. The film, an ode to the heroism of firefighters, starred Academy Award nominees John Travolta and Joaquin Phoenix as a pair of Baltimore firemen who share a father?son relationship that forges the backbone of this emotionally satisfying film. Ladder 49 remains as one of the top October weekend openers of all time and went on to make over $100 + million in worldwide box office. Next, Sony Picture's Water Horse: Legend of the Deep, was one of the best?reviewed family films of 2008. Starring Alex Etel and Academy Award winner Emily Watson, the film was also nominated by the Visual Effects Society for the groundbreaking digital work of the world famous New Zealand FX company, Weta Workshop. Worldwide, The Water Horse, became Russell's second $100 + million dollar moneymaker in a row. In 2011, Russell served as a Producer for Academy Award nominee Terry George (Hotel Rwanda) on his Belfast, Northern Ireland based indie?comedy, Whole Lotta Sole to be released in 2012.