This trailer for “The Greatest Showman” has been a long time coming. Twentieth Century Fox began developing the musical biopic about circus extraordinaire P.T. Barnum in 2011, when the studio hired first-time director Michael Gracey. Six years later, Hugh Jackman is portraying Barnum as a laid-off office drone who revolutionizes the freak show in the 1800s.
For some reason, the trailer hardly lets on that “The Greatest Showman” is a musical, beyond a few shots of characters dancing and a corny ballad that serenades the proceedings. In fact, the music was written by Justin Paul and Benj Pasek, who scored the Tony-winning “Dear Evan Hansen” and contributed to “La La Land” and the short-lived series “Smash.”
What the trailer does tell us is that Michelle Williams is given little to do but play Barnum’s wife, while Zac Efron dons a perpetual “OMG” expression as Barnum’s collaborator. Zendaya plays a trapeze artist, and Rebecca Ferguson portrays opera virtuoso Jenny Lind.
“The Greatest Showman” ― written by Jenny Bicks (“Sex and the City,” “Men in Trees”) and Bill Condon (“Beauty and the Beast,” “Chicago”) ― opens Dec. 25.