In 2004, former Monty Python actor Eric Idle penned Spamalot, a musical adaptation of the famous film, Monty Python and the Holy Grail. It’s a clever and ridiculously successful production that went on to win a Tony Award for Best Musical. Now, because time is a flat circle and Hollywood is an ouroboros, Deadline reports that Fox is planning to adapt the adapted musical as yet another film.
Spamalot largely follows the plot of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, throwing in a number of other references from the group’s other films and sketch comedy. It follows King Arthur on his quest to unite England by going off in search of the legendary Holy Grail in 932 AD. Along the way, he gathers a motley team of knights, faces off against rude French soldiers armed with bovine catapults, braves bloodthirsty bunny rabbits and inscrutable bridge guards, and soft-shoes through a number of catchy musical numbers. The musical streamlines the film’s story a bit and throws in more than a little meta-commentary on the entire Broadway theater scene.
On the bright side (or at least the could-be-worse side), Idle will be writing Fox’s film adaptation himself. The musical’s original choreographer, Casey Nicholaw, has been tapped to direct the film. The studio no doubt sees Spamalot as another potential hit in the parade of recent movie musical successes like The Greatest Showman and La La Land. By the time Spamalot closed on Broadway in 2009, it grossed over $175 million.
But, any adaptation of Spamalot will essentially be a remake of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and that will be an incredibly difficult — if not impossible — feat to accomplish. Monty Python’s brand of sketch comedy was innovative and absurdist, which will no doubt mean this showbiz turducken will be brimming with self-deprecating jokes and even more meta-meta-commentary. It’s hard to see what value a new film adaptation could add to what the original film and musical have already done. With the Pythons having officially closed the door a few years ago with a slew of reunion / farewell shows, however (not to mention the, er, colorful remarks made recenty by Terry Gilliam about the #MeToo movement), it seems at the very least like a torch-passing, on Idle’s part, to essentially reboot the troupe’s most beloved film with a new cast. Maybe almost-new Monty Python material will be better than none at all?