First Look At Hugh Jackman In The Greatest Showman

Hugh Jackman has been through a few changes in the years since it was first pitched. Not the least of which is its evolution into a musical… Now the first images from the movie have arrived via Entertainment Weekly.

The film charts Barnum’s life from a poor upbringing to his first proper circus in New York in the 1800s, a time when such shows were frowned upon as morally dubious. But the idea of the musical itself caused problems for the film’s chances of actually being made. “Up until La La Land, everyone was saying there hasn’t been an original musical in 23 years,” Jackman tells EW. “So the prevailing thought in Hollywood was, unless you have a brand people know, it’s not a done thing. So it just took a long time.”

That element and its resulting issues can be lain squarely at the feet of writer/director Michael Gracey. “I said, ‘If you’re going to call it The Greatest Showman, you should play to your strengths and we should make it a musical,'” the director says. “That ridiculous remark cost me seven years of my life.” Still, the finished version will feature original music from La La Land Oscar winners Benj Pasek and Justin Paul that is intended to sound contemporary despite the movie’s period setting. For more on the film, head to EW‘s site.

With Michelle Williams as Barnum’s wife, Charity, Zac Efron as his business partner and Zendaya as the trapeze artist that Efron falls in love with, The Greatest Showman will arrive in January 2018.