07/16/1998 AT 12:00 AM EDT
It's been a mega-novel, a mega-movie, the source of some tepid stage musical versions and some anemic print and made-for-TV sequels, but never has "Gone With the Wind" been a ballet. Until now. The Atlanta Ballet has announced that its 2002-03 season will include the world premiere of a $12 million full-length dance work based on Margaret Mitchell's tale of the Old South. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that plans for the ballet -- which, like the 1939 movie that starred Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh as Rhett Butler and Scarlett O'Hara, will distill all 1,037 pages of the novel -- are still embryonic. But the ballet company's artistic director John McFall is considering talent from all over the world. (The familiar music from the movie will reportedly not appear in the ballet.) Without going so far as to say Mammy will appear in tights, McFall tells the paper (where Margaret Mitchell herself once worked as a reporter): "What intrigued me is that in ballet we usually don't talk. I think that's why 'Gone With the Wind' can be successful . . . Because you don't have to speak, we're not competing with the movie."