Rex Pickett’s play of his film Sideways is a step closer to Broadway after he recruited award-winning director Des McAnuff, but prospects for a big-screen sequel remain small.
Colossal fan base…Rex Pickett
Sideways the play will open at La Jolla Playhouse near San Diego in mid-July, initially running for five weeks, Pickett – who wrote the book that became a hit film in 2004 – told Decanter.com.
‘The La Jolla Playhouse is a great regional theatre that has sent a lot of plays to Broadway,’ Pickett said. ‘At the risk of immodesty, the fan base for this film is colossal, but not many in that fan base are regular theater-goers, but this is one play they will see.’
Des McAnuff, director emeritus at La Jolla, a Tony award-winner and ex-director of Jersey Boys, agreed to take Sideways on after Pickett emailed him.
Pickett said that McAnuff considered it a ‘richer and more emotionally complex than the movie’. He first ran the play at Ruskin Group Theatre in Santa Monica last year. ‘Theatre is the most rewarding creative experience of my life,’ he said.
He is less optimistic about persuading the director of the original Sideways film, Alexander Payne, to make a sequel based on his second book, Vertical, which follows lead characters Miles and Jack several years later on a trip to Oregon wine country.
Payne ‘didn’t want to talk about Vertical’ the last time they met, Pickett said. The director, who has won two Oscars and is renowned for such films as The Descendants with George Clooney, is crucial to Vertical’s chances of being made because of his influence at Fox Searchlight, which owns the rights to the Miles and Jack characters in the film.
‘He considers [a sequel] selling out,’ said Pickett. ‘If he doesn’t want to do it, it probably won’t happen. But, this is Hollywood, so you never know.’
In another project, Pickett has released 197 cases of Ne Plus Ultra, a US$45 Pinot Noir 2011 from Oregon’s Willamette Valley, in collaboration with Oregon winemakers Drew Voit and Darcy Pendergrass.
In Sideways, Miles’s love of Pinot Noir is an ongoing theme. ‘I hope to do another wine with Quigley if this one goes well,’ Pickett said.
Written by Chris Mercer