'Come From Away' creators thinking big for their film adaptation - InfoNews

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'Come From Away' creators thinking big for their film adaptation

The cast of "Come From Away," are shown in a 2016 handout photo. The Canadian theatrical production THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Matthew Murphy
November 29, 2017 - 12:11 PM

TORONTO - They've only just begun working on the script's first draft, but the creators of "Come From Away" say they're bursting with ideas for the cinematic version of their Broadway musical.

"All of these things we've imagined," says David Hein, "we can actually blow open and show in this rich world."

Huge sets, actual East Coast locations and a sizable cast that could fill an opera house — none of those options were on the table when Hein and Irene Sankoff began writing their play about six years ago.

Now the sky's the limit.

"Come From Away" was dreamt up after the married couple visited Gander, N.L., on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. They built the storyline around a minimal set that consisted of little more than 12 chairs and 12 actors arranged in creative ways.

The duo already had some experience in screenwriting and they say the play's script had a certain degree of cinematic flair from the start.

Coming up with ways to translate their vision onto the big screen is thrilling, they say. The possibilities range from showing 38 planes grounded on the runway to the portrayal of nearly 7,000 stranded passengers roaming the streets of a small town.

"We're finding it really fun to let the script for the stage fill out," says Sankoff.

"(To) be able to show more of the world, show more of the characters and the place itself. It's totally exciting."

Sankoff expects "Come From Away" will film in Canada, especially since Newfoundland and Labrador is practically its own character in the script.

"Places like the Dover Fault, Appleton Peace Park — yeah, we've gotta be there," she says.

Hein and Sankoff have been on a tear since "Come From Away" opened in Toronto and subsequently went to Broadway in February. It picked up a Tony Award for best direction of a musical and has collected a number of other accolades throughout the year.

A Grammy Award nomination for best musical theatre album was the latest recognition on Tuesday.

"Come From Away" returns to Toronto with an all-Canadian cast in February, which means the couple has plenty on their minds.

Neither one has given much serious thought to who could star in the film, they say.

"We've barely even started talking about that," Hein says. "We're right on that edge."

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News from © The Canadian Press, 2017
The Canadian Press

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