Pharrell Williams is co-producing a musical film inspired by his childhood in Virginia Beach. Atlantis, which was picked up last week by Fox, is described by The Hollywood Reporter as a “Romeo & Juliet-style love story with a music element.”
Eclectic Broadway director Michael Mayer – best known for 2006’s Tony-winning Spring Awakening and the stage adaptation of Green Day’s 2004 rock opera, American Idiot – will helm the project. Martin Hynes, who is reportedly writing Toy Story 4, is attached as writer. Williams will produce alongside Mimi Valdes (Hidden Figures) and Gil Netter (Life of Pi, The Blind Side).
Atlantis will focus on Williams’ formative years in Virginia Beach. It could potentially explore his collaboration with Neptunes partner Chad Hugo. The prolific, highly influential production duo met during a summer camp before forming a teenage band that also included future N.E.R.D. collaborator Shay Haley. New jack swing pioneer Teddy Riley discovered the group during a high school talent show, effectively launching Pharrell’s career.
Pharrell made his first major foray into film production with last year’s Hidden Figures, which earned three Oscar nominations, including for Best Picture. The former Voice coach also wrote original songs for the film.
Pharrell’s film credits also include executive producing 2015 coming-of-age dramedy Dope and co-composing the scores to 2010’s Despicable Me 2 and 2014’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2. “Happy,” his funky original track from Despicable Me, topped the Billboard charts in 2013 and became the lead single for his second solo LP, Girl.