As it was in production, Boyhood was called “The 12 Year Project” — because it took 12 years of off-and-on shooting for director Richard Linklater and his team to produce its epic look at American childhood. But now Linklater is reportedly working on a project that makes Boyhood look like, I dunno, Russian Ark or something. It’s a musical that will require 20 years of shooting to complete.

That’s the word from Collider, who claim that Linklater is now at work prepping an ambitious adaptation of the Steven Sondheim musical Merrily We Roll Along. The conceit of the show, which was first mounted on Broadway in 1981 (and based on a 1934 play of the same name by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart), is that it follows an extremely successful composer over the course of about 20 years — backwards. It starts with him at the height of his powers and then proceeds in reverse chronological order to explain how he got there.

On Broadway, all 20 years were shown in a single performance using, y’know, acting. Linklater — who is 59 years old — reportedly wants to show the passage of time using the actual, inexorable passage of time:

The film is an adaptation of Stephen Sondheim‘s acclaimed musical Merrily We Roll Along, which itself was based on the 1934 play of the same name by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart. The play takes place over the course of 20 years, and sources say that Linklater plans to stay true to that timeline.

The stars will reportedly be Dear Evan Hansen’s Ben Platt and Beanie Feldstein.

It’s a bonkers idea that basically no one would even think to attempt — except the guy who already spent 12 years of his life making one movie. If this information is accurate, we won’t see Richard Linklater’s Merrily We Roll Along until some time around the year 2040 — provided the Earth is still around at that point. Frankly, the chance to see this absurdly difficult idea come to fruition is a pretty solid motivation to keep the world spinning until then.

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