Screenwriter Bruce Joel Rubin is standing in the back of the Lunt-Fontanne Theater just off Broadway watching his latest baby, “Ghost: The Musical,” unfold. Rubin won an Academy Award for his screenplay about, well, a ghost. He never imagined it as a musical. Yet here it is. Already a smash hit in London (tickets have just gone on sale through 2013), and productions are now in the works in the Netherlands and Melbourne. And, of course, in New York, where it opens April 23. Rubin spoke with The Arty Semite about how Hamlet’s father inspired him, how the ghost of a deceased meditating instructor got him his first job, and why he probably won’t write another film.
Curt Schleier: I understand Hamlet’s father had something to do with the inspiration for “Ghost,” the movie?
Bruce Joel Rubin: It had more to do with me as a person who wants to tell stories. I wanted to tell a story of what it means to be a ghost, but from the side of the ghost. I found that very compelling. What is it like to be dead, but still here? Death has different meanings in different cultures. I was looking for a way to frame the story and one day I was watching Hamlet, where the ghost of Hamlet’s father appears and says, “avenge my death.” That was a very important moment for Hamlet and a very important moment for me.
But a musical?