Director Matthew Warchus has opted out of the West End adaptation of the Oscar-winning film Slumdog Millionaire.
Warchus — who was reportedly in talks to take the reins of the project alongside Downton Abbey writer Julian Fellowes after producers broke off talks with director Danny Boyle — is now no longer part of it.
A musical adaptation of the hit film has courted controversy after its producer, TV mogul Paul Smith, made plans to produce a live show without the movie’s Oscar-winning creative team, including Boyle.
In protest, A.R. Rahman, composer of the film’s hit tune Jai Ho, refused to allow Smith to use the song in the musical.
Warchus was then said to be in talks to take Boyle’s place. But sources close to Warchus say he’s now dropped out in solidarity with Boyle.
“He’s walked away from it,” the New York Post quoted a source as saying.
“He said he was not given all the information [when he was approached] and didn’t know about the problems with its rights. Once he knew, he immediately decided not to do it,” the source said.
Another source close to Warchus insisted that he was never attached.
“Matthew was never brought on,” the source said.
“He had a cup of tea with [Smith]. Then he went on vacation. They had a meeting, and he didn’t walk away attached,” the source added.
Smith was an executive producer on Fox Searchlight’s Slumdog, which made 338 million dollars worldwide and won eight Oscars.
But when plans for a stage version were hatched, Smith wouldn’t guarantee Boyle creative control.
The rest of the movie’s original creative team, including Rahman, screenwriter Simon Beaufoy and producer Christian Colson, then said that they’d only do the show if Boyle was involved.
Tony-winning Warchus, whose credits include God of Carnage, was also reportedly in line to take over another stage adaptation of a hit film, Shakespeare in Love, but exited.