Linklater's 'Blue Moon' Explores Split of Songwriters Rodgers & Hart

Exploring the transformative era of musical theater history

by Zain ul Abedin
Linklater's 'Blue Moon' Explores Split of Songwriters Rodgers & Hart
© Rick Kern/Getty Images

As filmmaker Richard Linklater garners acclaim for his latest Netflix thriller, Hit Man, he appears to be setting his sights on a new cinematic venture. According to Deadline, Linklater is developing Blue Moon, a film inspired by the lives of legendary American songwriters Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart.

The movie, named after their famous 1934 ballad, explores a poignant moment in their partnership - Hart's struggle on the night of Rodgers' breakthrough with the Broadway hit Oklahoma! Robert Kaplow, who previously collaborated with Linklater on the 2008 film Me and Orson Welles, has crafted the script for Blue Moon.

Linklater is set to produce the film alongside his long-time manager, John Sloss. The project promises to delve into the storied collaboration between Rodgers and Hart, who revolutionized musical theater from 1919 to the early 1940s with 28 stage musicals and over 500 songs.

Legacy and Loss

The end of their partnership was marked by Hart's escalating alcoholism and mental health challenges, which overshadowed their successful collaboration. In 1943, Rodgers embarked on a new venture with Oscar Hammerstein II, beginning with Oklahoma!

, which redefined musical storytelling by seamlessly integrating music, lyrics, and dance. This collaboration spawned timeless musicals like Carousel, South Pacific, The King and I, and The Sound of Music, cementing Rodgers and Hammerstein's legacy as musical theater luminaries.

Meanwhile, Linklater's Hit Man continues to make waves following its premiere at the Venice Film Festival, where it received a six-minute standing ovation. The film stars Glen Powell and Adria Arjona and follows a university professor entangled in a morally ambiguous life as a contract killer.

Despite the actors' strike limiting promotion, Netflix secured the film for $20 million at the Toronto International Film Festival, positioning it as a significant acquisition. Linklater, a five-time Oscar nominee recognized for his innovative filming techniques and narrative depth in projects like Boyhood and the Before trilogy, continues to push cinematic boundaries.

His ongoing endeavors include Merrily We Roll Along, another ambitious project filmed over 20 years, featuring stars such as Paul Mescal, Ben Platt, and Beanie Feldstein. As he navigates these creative ventures, Linklater remains a formidable force in filmmaking, dedicated to exploring complex characters and rich, emotional landscapes.