Julie Taymor Developing Thomas Mann’s Transposed Heads

For most of us, the last we’ve heard from Julie Taymor was her unsettling departure from “Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark” and her subsequent legal disputes with the producers of the beleaguered production. The Tony Award-winning director is now back in the news -- only this time it’s not for the stage but for the screen.

The Daily Beast is reporting that Taymor is in the development stage of not one but two movies. The first is an adaptation of Thomas Mann’s The Transposed Heads and the second is a present-day version of “The Flying Dutchman” titled “Riders on the Storm.”

Mann’s novella, The Transposed Heads, is an absurdist tale about two friends who behead themselves only to be magically restored to the wrong body. The two friends are total opposites: Shridaman is an intellectual while Nanda is a physical specimen. The story plays on the philosophical argument of mind versus body, perhaps portrayed best by Shridaman’s wife who can’t decide which combination of her husband is the real one.

Although Taymor is usually linked to "The Lion King," the highest-grossing Broadway show of all time, this isn’t her first stab at cinema. Most recently she adapted Shakespeare’s play The Tempest into a film starring Helen Mirren. However, she’s best known for her direction of “Across the Universe” and “Frida,” both of which were nominated for Academy Awards.

Also interesting: This won’t be the first time that Taymor has worked with The Transposed Heads. Although it was twenty-five years ago and a musical adaptation that she directed at Lincoln Center, she certainly knows the story as well as anyone. There is no news yet regarding what form her film adaptation will take. A musical seems unlikely but, then again, I wouldn’t put it past her.