Paddington director Paul King to direct Tom Holland as Fred Astaire

Tom Holland told us he was going to take a little break from acting after Spider-Man: No Way Home. It was always intended to be a breather, not semi-retirement or such. He assured us of that by announcing projects he had in the works, like a biopic on Fred Astaire in which he’d play Astaire. But there was no other information at that time. Well Tom is still chilling out, sadly as we all hoped to see him as a Super Bowl half-time show cameo, but the Astaire film is moving forward. It has a direction and a director, according to The Hollywood Reporter. None other than Paddington mastermind Paul King has signed on. And now we know what the movie will be about – Fred and his sister Adele’s early vaudeville act and her decision to end it at their height after she married.

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.

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.

[From The Hollywood Reporter]

I can already see the Paddington and Tom dancing memes. I assume this is great news. I thought the Paddington movies were fine, but I didn’t quite find them as enchanting as everyone else on my Twitter feed did. But Tom is as endearing as the CGI bear so Paul should know how to use him best. I’m kidding! They are both good at their jobs and I’m sure this will be fine. I don’t know what else to say. I’m still really just here for the dancing.

Kaiser informed me that this is one of two Fred Astaire films in the works. Jamie Bell and Margaret Qualley are working on a Fred Astaire and Ginger Rodgers movie. That, too, will focus on the early part of their relationship and the crucial point that set them on the path to become the legendary partners they became. So both films are taking “ …and the rest is history” angles. But I am still concerned that they both center around a man who forbade his life from ever being turned into a film. Why not make the women in the film the focus and at least semi-honor his wishes? And I hate that I’m interested in the projects because I love Astaire’s work so much, I do kind of want to see his process on the big screen. But then I’ll feel bad for going against his wishes.

Even though I’m conflicted, if Paul King can get Hugh Grant in Tom’s movie, I’m in. Hugh can play Noel Coward.

xEmbed from Getty Images

Embed from Getty Images

This unfortunate hair situation is because Tom’s filming A Crowded Room

Photo credit: Twitter, Getty Images, Cover Images and Maria Laura Antonelli/AGF Foto/Avalon

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31 Responses to “Paddington director Paul King to direct Tom Holland as Fred Astaire”

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  1. SarahCS says:

    I read the link about Astaire’s will. How is that going to play out with these films? Is there anyone around to sue? I assume there’s an estate that ‘owns’ his likeness etc. CB lawyers can you weigh in please.

    I enjoyed Paddington more than I thought I would, and yes, Tom is equally endearing.

    • Scal says:

      His widow is still alive and controls the estate. Remember the dirt devil ad with his likeness? I’m guessing they either got her permission or are still working on it.

      His son is supportive of the use of image, daughter is not.

    • Kate says:

      It’s just so wrong.

  2. Snuffles says:

    I was wondering if this project was still happening. I think the pre-Hollywood years is a good angle to take. It should be good.

    But, I’m the meanwhile, I’m gonna need Tom to lock it down with Zendaya and start making some vaguely ethnic curly haired babies.

  3. Lynn says:

    What a perfectly timed story as I, for the 1000th time, was watching his Lip Sync Battle performance of Umbrella last night. It is delightful!

  4. Jais says:

    With both guys playing Astaire, it’s just making me think of Billy Elliot😂

    • Frippery says:

      At least when the Oscars campaigns start and we hear how hard these actors trained and worked on their dance routines, I’ll believe it this time.

  5. CourtneyB says:

    Adele married Charles Cavendish, the uncle of the Duke of Devonshire, who was married to a Mitford and whose brother was married to Kathleen Kennedy. He was a heavy drinker and died of alcoholism. Their three children all died in infancy.

  6. M says:

    Fred is one of my favorite actors. He had style, grace and charm few others had. He wasn’t a looker, but he was smooth as hell. His film career is very well documented, so maybe by focusing on the early years where there is very little source material they feel they can get away with it. He did write an autobiography, so there is information to be had, but I feel it’ll be more “based on” than a straight telling of his life story. The crucial part is making sure Adele is cast well.

  7. AmB says:

    Is there an audience for this outside rabid fans of Fred, dance, and if it’s going to focus on pre-Hollywood … rabid fans of vaudeville? (And where do they hang out, and can I come to a meeting?)

    • Snuffles says:

      Of course there is an audience! Plenty of people enjoy a good song and dance movie. And I’m not a die hard Fred stan but I’ve always enjoyed a classic MGM musical and Fred was one of the best. He’s a legend. Although I’m more of a Gene Kelly girl myself.

      And Tom Holland has his fans too. I’m sure they’re all dying to see him dance again.

      • Julia K says:

        I binged on all the Fred Astaire I could find during early lockdown months. Loved it all. No one can fill his dancing shoes.

  8. K says:

    I am so excited for this. I will watch anything dance. Including Spider Man.

  9. Maeve says:

    Looking forward to seeing Tom in lots of fantastic suits made by Huntsman, Fred’s tailor of choice. He had them cut his jackets so that the shoulders didn’t bunch when he was dancing, and apparently they had a board in the shop that he could dance on in front of a mirror to make sure everything sat perfectly. He was an absolute perfectionist.
    Adele married the second son of the 9th Duke of Devonshire, so moved in very aristocratic circles. The first time she met her future in laws she did cartwheel across the floor! There was an fashion exhibition at Chatsworth a few years back which included some of her clothes – she was a very elegant lady indeed. She was aunt by marriage to Debo Mitford and Kick Kennedy, and sister in law to PM Harold MacMillan. Her life probably deserves a film as much as Fred’s!

    • windyriver says:

      Let’s see if they do anything about the colorful socks Fred wore! I’m curious when that came about, if it was always part of his style as a performer, or something he incorporated later when his pictures were in color. Purple in Bandwagon, red and yellow in Royal Wedding. Wow.

  10. Christine says:

    It’s interesting how multiple biopics seem to be made around the same time as each other.

  11. Nicegirl says:

    🕺 💃

  12. Sankay says:

    Fred Astaire was tall and lanky, wasn’t he? He was definitely made to look that way in the movies. Perhaps he wasn’t so tall. Both Tom and Jamie Bell are short but both are great actors who can dance. Looking forward to seeing what they can do with this.

  13. Truthiness says:

    I wonder if the movies are going to skip over Hermes Pan, his closer than close choreographer, or portray it.

    • windyriver says:

      Suppose it really depends what the focus is, but I’m thinking, they’ll probably skip over Hermes Pan. If it’s a piece about Fred and Adele – as I understand it, Astaire and Pan didn’t meet until Flying Down to Rio, post Adele. And post-Adele and that movie and his number in it with Ginger Rogers, it was all about his work with Ginger. I’d love to see something just about Fred’s work as a dancer and his collaboration with Hermes Pan, but it’s probably too niche compared with the other parts of his career.

  14. j.ferber says:

    Truthiness, I totally believe they’ll skip over it, as Tom Holland, I suspect, would want them to do. And there is no way on Earth that I think Tom Holland should play Fred Astaire. Just no way.

  15. j.ferber says:

    greenmonster, totally agree about Holland being better as Gene Kelly. Kelly was a much more athletic dancer and lacked the grace and charm of Astaire, IMO, so you know who was my favorite.

  16. Lucky Charm says:

    Wait, his widow was OK with him being used in a vacuum cleaner commercial, but she didn’t feel it was appropriate for a Ginger Rogers tribute?!