Ex-HP Director to Bring Original Rent Cast Members to Silver Screen; Menzel, Rapp, Pascal, Martin Confirmed

Oct 28, 2004

Posted by: Melissa Anelli


Some news from the Harry Potter alumni front, as we always follow the careers of those who have been heavily involved in the franchise: Ex-HP director and producer Chris Columbus is accomplishing a rare feat in musical-to-movie adaptations – he’s bringing key members of the original cast of Rent to the silver screen. Rumors have abounded these past few days but last night Idina Menzel, the show’s original Maureen, confirmed to us that she will star and Anthony Rapp, the show’s original Mark Cohen, posted on a message board that he, Jesse Martin (Tom Collins) and Adam Pascal (Roger) will also be in the film. Click below for more.
Fans will remember that when we interviewed Chris Columbus on the PoA NYC Premiere Red Carpet (click for transcript) he spke of the project with enthusiasm.
At the time he talked about finding “new people, people you’ve never seen before, put[ting] a cast together of stars who can act and sing.” We asked about using original cast members (I am a very enthusiastic Rent fan from the show’s early days), and he said, “Well it depends … certainly we’ll talk to them. … but it’s a question of age. Because part of the tragedy is the youth. You see these people as younger kids. So we’ll see. It’s basically how they’ve aged.”

Apparently they’ve aged well. Two days ago the rumors began that Columbus was courting members of the Pulitzer-winning show’s original cast to star in the film.

Last night I had the excellent fortune to attend Wicked (one of the best Broadway musicals I’ve seen in a long time) with Christopher Rankin (a.k.a. Percy Weasley) – plenty of pictures, a report, and a long interview coming soon – and during a backstage visit with Ms. Menzel, the Tony-winning star of the show, she said that she is definitely doing the movie (and is very excited about it).

On an online message board “Compulsive Bowlers”, original cast member Anthony Rapp (A Beautiful Mind, and notably the Columbus-directed Adventures in Babysitting) confirmed that he, Jesse L. Martin (Law & Order) and Adam Pascal (School of Rock) will also star. No confirmation on Taye Diggs (Kevin Hill) as Benny, but rumors are he’s more likely than not to do it. (Rapp says no contracts are as yet signed.)

For the many, many big Potter fans who are also big Rent fans, great news indeed, and this Rent fan wants to offer great appreciation to Mr. Columbus for taking the leap and going back to this inspirational base for this movie. This is unheard of in these types of movies, and quite special.

The Leaky Cauldron is not associated with J.K. Rowling, Warner Bros., or any of the individuals or companies associated with producing and publishing Harry Potter books and films.