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February 14, 2023 -  304 
Paul King to Direct Tom Holland’s Fred Astaire Movie

Holland, the star of the ‘Spider–Man’ movies, will portray the actor–dancer–singer behind classic films such as ‘Swing Time’ and ‘Funny Face.’

Paul King, the director of the Paddington movies, is putting on his dancing shoes.

King has come aboard to direct Sony Pictures’ untitled Fred Astaire drama that has Tom Holland attached to star as the golden age film and dance star.

Amy Pascal, Rachael O’Conner, Ben Holden and Josh Hyams are producing.

Sony is keeping the logline details under the top hat, but it is known that the project centers on the relationship between Astaire and his sister, Adele Astaire. The two were inseparable for more than 20 years, moving out of a simple Midwestern vaudeville act in the early part of the 20th Century to Broadway and London’s West End in the 1920s. Adele Astaire was initially the face of the act, but eventually, Fred’s consummate stage skills eclipsed hers. The duo parted in 1932 when the sister married, which was a blow to Fred, but it also turned his focus toward Hollywood dance musicals, and subsequently set him on the path to cinematic immortality.

Sony had no comment.

The project has been percolating for several years and now has Lee Hall, who wrote the popular dance–centric drama Billy Elliot, rewriting the script by Noah Pink. The project is a reunion of sorts for Hall and Holland as the latter had a career breakthrough when he starred as the titular ballet–loving boy in the West End adaptation of the movie, titled Billy Elliot: The Musical, from 2008 to 2010.

It is unclear what kind of tone the project will offer, but King has demonstrated a choreographer’s touch with the two beloved Paddington movies, released in 2014 and 2017, which were critical and box office hits, collectively earning nearly $500 million globally. King co–wrote the screenplay and is executive producing the third film in the series, which is in development and due to be helmed by Dougal Wilson. He most recently wrapped production on Warner Bros.’ Wonka, a Willy Wonka origin story starring Timothée Chalamet.

Hall’s writing credits include Rocketman, starring Taron Egerton, and Steven Spielberg’s Academy Award–nominated War Horse. Billy Elliot earned him an Academy Award nomination for best screenplay.

King is repped by WME and Independent Talent Group. Hall is repped by CAA, Hansen Jacobson, and the U.K.’s Judy Daish Associates.

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