Zach Galifianakis Attached to Star in A CONFEDERACY OF DUNCES; James Bobin in Talks to Direct

     May 22, 2012

zach galifianakis a confederacy of dunces

Zach Galifianakis and director James Bobin (The Muppets) are a match made in heaven, to the degree that I had to check IMDB to see if Galifianakis ever hopped over from his HBO show Bored to Death for a guest spot on Bobin’s HBO show, Flight of the Conchords.  Nope.  But the pair may make up for the lost opportunity on Paramount’s feature adaptation of A Confederacy of DuncesVulture hears Galifianakis is attached to star as Ignatius Reilly and Bobin is in talks to direct.  Scott Rudin (Moneyball) will produce, and Phil Johnston (Cedar Rapids) is reportedly working on the screenplay.

That’s quite a lineup, but Confederacy of Dunces has a long history of trying and repeatedly failing to become a movie.  Harold Ramis set up the first attempt in 1982, but was derailed when his Ignatius, John Belushi, died.  The role subsequently passed from John Candy to Chris Farley to John Goodman over the years, but never stuck.  The most recent iteration was led by Will Ferrell and director David Gordon Green, but fell by the wayside at Paramount.  When asked what happened to it, Ferrell could only respond, “It’s a mystery.  For some reason that’s a very scary project for people to take on.”  Hit the jump for a synopsis of John Kennedy Toole‘s seemingly unadaptable novel.

a confederacy of dunces movie

“A green hunting cap squeezed the top of the fleshy balloon of a head. The green earflaps, full of large ears and uncut hair and the fine bristles that grew in the ears themselves, stuck out on either side like turn signals indicating two directions at once. Full, pursed lips protruded beneath the bushy black moustache and, at their corners, sank into little folds filled with disapproval and potato chip crumbs.”

Meet Ignatius J. Reilly, the hero of John Kennedy Toole’s tragicomic tale, A Confederacy of Dunces. This 30-year-old medievalist lives at home with his mother in New Orleans, pens his magnum opus on Big Chief writing pads he keeps hidden under his bed, and relays to anyone who will listen the traumatic experience he once had on a Greyhound Scenicruiser bound for Baton Rouge. (“Speeding along in that bus was like hurtling into the abyss.”) But Ignatius’s quiet life of tyrannizing his mother and writing his endless comparative history screeches to a halt when he is almost arrested by the overeager Patrolman Mancuso–who mistakes him for a vagrant–and then involved in a car accident with his tipsy mother behind the wheel. One thing leads to another, and before he knows it, Ignatius is out pounding the pavement in search of a job.

Over the next several hundred pages, our hero stumbles from one adventure to the next. His stint as a hotdog vendor is less than successful, and he soon turns his employers at the Levy Pants Company on their heads. Ignatius’s path through the working world is populated by marvelous secondary characters: the stripper Darlene and her talented cockatoo; the septuagenarian secretary Miss Trixie, whose desperate attempts to retire are constantly, comically thwarted; gay blade Dorian Greene; sinister Miss Lee, proprietor of the Night of Joy nightclub; and Myrna Minkoff, the girl Ignatius loves to hate. [Amazon]

Are Galifianakis, Bobin, Rudin, and Johnston the men who can finally make this happen?  I do not know.  But as a lesser man who just bought the $4 ebook, I sure hope they find a way.

james bobin a confederacy of dunces

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  • Toby Buckets

    Jonah Hill would be a better choice, in my opinion.

    • william

      Obviously you didnt read the book, because Galifianakis is a WAY better choice than Jonah Hill. Have you ever seen the fictional brother character that Zach does? It’s practically Ignatius already.

  • Pocketses

    I do not doubt that the book is consistently being attempted for good reason, I’m sure it has a large following and is probably entertaining, but goodness, that synopsis was possibly among the more boring things I’ve ever read. I am usually one for quirky, off-beat sounding comedies like this, but if the style of the book is anything like the recap I just read, it’s not for me. Hope it comes together for the fans of the book, though. 1982 is a long time for people to have been working on this.

    Also, the role was starting to sound cursed for a while, Belushi, Candy, Farley…then Goodman and Ferrell came along and changed that. But the first three picked to play the role died…I wouldn’t have accepted it.

  • RedArmy

    A Confederacy of Dunces is one of the funniest books ever written. Pocketses, you should read the book before you judge it. It’s a masterpiece.

  • Tofer

    Rarely do I come across a book that I despise, but A Confederacy of Dunces was an absolute grind to get through. Ignatius Reilly has absolutely no redeeming qualities; you don’t have to like the protagonist (can we call him a protagonist?) to enjoy the book but if you find them boring and loathsome, it makes for a difficult read. To this day, I still shudder whenever I hear the word valve.

    If you want to read a book that’s actually funny and not just purported to be funny, look to the left of A Confederacy of Dunces at your nearest bookstore and pick up Steve Toltz’s A Fraction of the Whole. Now that would make for a funny film (or better yet, television series).

  • ashooner

    I don’t see Belushi pulling this off correctly. Goodman maybe, but to me Galifianakis has the perfect balance of ludicrous condescension.

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  • murdoc

    This is great news.

    I’m glad to hear other fans of the book agree that Zach Galifianakis is pretty much perfect for the role. I REALLY hope that this happens.

  • sherry

    Just finished reading ACOD for the 3rd time. First time I was in my 20s, then 40s; now in my 50s I find it funnier than ever! Zach G. is as perfect as it gets for the role (tho I did think John Candy would have been perfect, too RIP). I want to read what other actors need to be cast in the movie. What fun to consider!

  • Cole Ccs

    Wow. You’re the first person I’ve ever heard (read) say that. I loved the book, and doubt that the movie will do it justice. I’ve turned several people on to the book, and they all couldn’t put it down. Think I’ll re-read it again, just for fun. I’ll also look for Toltz’s book. Never read that one.

  • Patrick B Gawne

    Having read the book, I have to say that synopsis seems directed at someone who has read the book and needs a gentle reminder.
    If you like silly, off-the-wall type comedy, you ought to read the book.