THOSE NEON LIGHTS ARE BRIGHT: Graydon Carter may have caught the theater bug again — or perhaps sold-out performances of “Hamilton” have reignited a passion.
Sources tell WWD that the editor in chief of Vanity Fair is putting feelers out to try his hand at theater production once again. This would mark a return to Broadway for Carter, who coproduced Bette Midler’s solo show “I’ll Eat You Last” in 2013. But this time, the editor is said to have approached Vanity Fair contributors to have a go at playwriting.
A spokeswoman for Vanity Fair referenced Carter’s stint as a Broadway producer, adding that he “often advises writers to go into playwriting, but he has not talked to any contributors about working on scripts for him.”
Insiders with knowledge of the matter said writers, in speaking with Carter, assume the editor would work with them in order to bring their plays to the stage. It is also rumored that he is looking for a partner for his potential return to the theater world.
Although the theater feelers have been characterized as in their “very early stages,” Carter is known for having other projects outside of the magazine; the editor is not only a restaurateur, but also has tried film production. The editor produced the successful 2002 documentary “The Kid Stays in the Picture” and worked with Griffin and Annabelle Dunne in 2014 on a documentary about Joan Didion, which has yet to be released. He also served as a producer on the recent Nora Ephron documentary “Everything Is Copy,” codirected by her son Jacob Bernstein.
Last year, it came to light that the Vanity Fair editor was looking to bring Walter Isaacson’s book “The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution” to the big screen. Sony had procured the rights to Isaacson’s book with Columbia Pictures president Doug Belgrad and producer Scott Rudin. At the time, Sony chief executive officer Michael Lynton told Carter to “work out the creative approach and the economics” with Belgrad and Rudin.
Although that project may still be hanging in the balance, one source suggested that Carter might be looking to Rudin as an example of someone who has been able to successfully navigate the theater landscape as a producer. Rudin, who is the lead producer of “The Book of Mormon,” is juggling several movie-to-stage productions, including “Matilda” and “Groundhog Day.” Rudin will also produce Aaron Sorkin’s adaptation of “To Kill a Mockingbird” for Broadway in the 2017 to 2018 season.
The issue of adapting stories to the screen has been something of a sore spot for Condé Nast staff with ambitions of splashing in the gilded waters of the entertainment industry. The New York-based publisher, which owns Vanity Fair, has an entertainment division, CNE, that is charged with developing works by the editors and writers on the company’s staff for the video, film and TV. The unit is overseen by Dawn Ostroff.