Spielberg to Remake Harvey (UPDATE: Hanks Said No *sad face*)

5 08 2009

harvey-stewart

UPDATE: Apparently I wasn’t alone in thinking that Tom Hanks would be the guy that many could see filling Stewart’s shoes. Now it appears, however, that it will not be happening. From Mike Fleming at Variety:

It was widely speculated that Hanks would be Spielberg’s top choice to play Elwood P. Dowd, perhaps because the actor has a likeability factor comparable to Jimmy Stewart, who played the eccentric with the invisible giant rabbit friend in the 1950 film.

While it appears there was a conversation, Hanks and Spielberg won’t pursue it because Hanks is so identified with Stewart. The last thing he would want to do is star in a project so closely identified with the actor. Hanks didn’t even read the Jonathan Tropper script.

This is kind of a downer. Hanks is really the only actor today that I can see doing this kind of role. Looks like I’m sitting on neither dollars nor doughnuts

—-

Fifty-one years before Frank was harassing Jake Gyllenhaal in Donnie Darko, another large rabbit named Harvey was appearing before James Stewart. Now, apparently still liking the dynamic, Steven Spielberg has decided that he is going to remake the 1950 film.

…Fox chairman Tom Rothman was able to pull a rabbit out of the hat for his studio.

He just recently got a draft of the “Harvey” script — the first written by novelist Jonathan Tropper — and sent it to Spielberg, with whom he developed a relationship when they worked on “Minority Report.” Spielberg and his DreamWorks partner Stacey Snider felt that while the source material is 65 years old, its themes are timely, uplifting and relatable. (Variety)

Many were expecting that Lincoln, Spielberg’s project about our 16th president, who was to be played by Liam Neeson, would be his next directorial project, but apparently Spielberg wants to get this one at the start of next year. My guess? The script where Mary Todd is kidnapped and Abraham has to find her and hunt down the people responsible didn’t go so well with test audiences. With any luck, the new project will destroy Spielberg’s plans to remake Oldboy with Will Smith, which already has so many wrenches in its gears that it won’t be able to recover.

I know this is a simple project announcement right now and could simply disappear in the months before production starts, but I am willing to bet dollars to donuts that Tom Hanks gets the call as Elwood P. Dowd. When it becomes official, don’t call me a soothsayer. At most, I’m just a geeky blogger.

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