A remake of the 1947 film The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (based on a short story by James Thurber) has been kicking around in development for years now. Jim Carrey, Mike Myers, Owen Wilson, Will Ferrell, and Sacha Baron Cohen have all eyed the lead role at some point, but even such considerable star power failed to overcome a reportedly problematic script. Ben Stiller is the latest actor to set his sights on the role, and Deadline hears the actor is committed enough to plan Secret Life as his next film.
Steve Conrad (The Pursuit of Happyness) scripted a page-one rewrite, and won Stiller over with his fresh take on the material. Though the project has previously sirened the likes of Steven Spielberg, Ron Howard, and (most recently) Gore Verbinski, no director is currently attached. 20th Century Fox is looking for a director who can handle action scenes and deliver a PG cut. There are tentative plans to start filming in late fall. Read a synopsis for The Secret Life of Walter Mitty after the break.
The synopsis for the 1947 movie:
Danny Kaye stars as Walter, a milquetoast proofreader for a magazine publishing firm. Walter is constitutionally incapable of standing up for himself, which is why his mother (Fay Bainter) has been able to arrange a frightful marriage between her son and the beautiful but overbearing Gertrude Griswold (Ann Rutherford). As he muses over the lurid covers of the magazines put out by his firm, Walter retreats into his fantasy world, where he is heroic, poised, self-assured, and the master of his fate. Glancing at the cover of a western periodical, Walter fancies himself the two-gun “Perth Amboy Kid”; a war magazine prompts Walter to envision himself as a fearless RAF pilot; and so on.
Throughout all his imaginary adventures, a gorgeous mystery woman weaves in an out of the proceedings. Imagine Walter’s surprise when his dream girl shows up in the flesh in the person of Rosalind van Horn (Virginia Mayo). The girl is being pursued by a gang of jewel thieves headed by Dr. Hugo Hollingshead (Boris Karloff), a clever psychiatrist who manages to convince Walter that he’s simply imagining things again, and that Rosalind never existed. At long last, Walter vows to live his life in the “now” rather than in the recesses of his mind: he rescues Rosalind from the gang’s clutches, tells his mother and Gertrude where to get off, and fast-talks his way into a better position with the publishing firm. [Fandango]
Up next for Stiller is a turn in the Broadway show The House of Blue Leaves, which opens April 25. Stiller will next be seen opposite Eddie Murphy in the action-comedy Tower Heist. Stiller is attached to reunite with writer/director Noah Baumbach (Greenberg) for While We’re Young, but the project has experienced difficulties in securing a cast.