This week, NBC released a ”first look” at its upcoming remake of The Sound of Music, which will air LIVE Dec. 5 and star country-music-American-Idol, Carrie Underwood. The 20 second promo was exactly what it promised – a look – and nothing more. Carrie twirled a little, showed off her milkmaid braids, and gave a girlish smile to elevator music that doesn’t even slightly resemble any of the songs from the musical. The only thing this “first look” proved is that this starlet has been getting her teeth whitened.
Miss Underwood has said in interviews that she wants to bring her own life to the character of Maria (think young Julie Andrews dancing through the Swiss Alps in a nun outfit), but fans of the Academy Award winning movie are holding their breath. Does this mean the classic Rogers and Hammerstein tunes will be sung with a Southern drawl? Underwood performed “The Sound of Music” for CBS’ Movies Rock in 2007 with a twang that was in a lower key than the dulcet, crystalline tones of Queen Andrews and her Broadway counterpart, Mary Martin, who originated the role onstage. It wasn’t bad, like Pierce Brosnan in Mama Mia bad, it was just … different.
And maybe different can work. Carrie will be supported by a trio of Tony Award winners and that guy from True Blood (no, not that guy; the other guy). The magnificent Audra McDonald, last seen accepting a Tony for Best Actress for Porgy and Bess, will be urging us to “Climb Every Mountain” as Mother Superior. Laura Benanti and Christian Borle as the Baroness (movie translation: that blonde woman with a wedgie) and Max (mustached uncle) will get to show off the pipes that earned them Tonys in Gypsy and Legally Blonde, respectively. NBC claims that this live show will be a “faithful adaptation” of the original stage version of the The Sound of Music, so the two villains of the show (well, besides the Nazis) should get to sing two numbers that were excluded from the 1965 film. As far as, (oh yeah, remembered the True Blood guy’s name) Stephen Moyer goes, we just hope we can wipe the images of him sucking blood out of our minds when he sings “Edelweiss.”
Oh, we can’t forget the kids.
The Von Trapp nuggets were announced recently, and all look suspiciously close in age to Underwood, though that’s not what’s worrisome. Gone are the days where child stars could sing in adorable little Shirley Temple voices. Thanks to Glee, kids now go for a pop-star straight tone starting at age five. Prepare yourself for some serious diva-style child belting, and, if we’re lucky, some competition between the seven siblings: seeing who can hold the longest riff during “So Long Farewell,” who looks sexiest in tapestry, who can yodel the fastest in “The Lonely Goatherd.” This is seriously career work; first a made for TV movie, next stop, Disney Channel.
Unfortunately for NBC, this new version of The Sound of Music is going to get haters a-rumblin’ no matter what. If they try to recreate the movie-musical in all its Julie Andrews glory, they will fail. If they try to modernize musical a la the Country Music Television, double fail.
If it’s too late to cancel the live show, then NBC should plan on airing the original movie right after this new one ends.
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