Steven Spielberg has committed to his next directorial feature, and no it isn’t going to be that Abraham Lincoln movie. In a surprising move the director has announced, via press release, that he will helm an adaptation of the classic Jimmy Stewart film “Harvey”. More after the jump…
Actually, it’s not fair to say that “Harvey” is only a Jimmy Stewart movie. The 1950 screen version is probably the best-known incarnation of the story about a man – whose best friend just happens to be a giant, talking rabbit – but “Harvey” originated as a Pulitzer Prize winning play by Mary Chase. Chase also wrote the screenplay for the 1950 screen version which starred Stewart as the unflappable Elwood P. Dowd – the man with the thing for bunnies.
Spielberg will use “source material” as inspiration for “Harvey” instead of filming a straight remake of director Henry Koster’s feature. The film will be a joint venture between Dreamworks and 20th Century Fox, which acquired the rights to the stage play last year.
The screenplay by novelist Jonathan Tropper has been approved so pre-production on “Harvey” will likely begin this month with a shoot date in early 2010 the goal.
I happen to love “Harvey”…the movie. I’m not quite old enough to have caught the play. Still, I’m not sure how I feel about a contemporary take on the film, or its source material. “Harvey” was a product of another time, even if, like Harvey himself, that time only existed in someone’s imagination. In Koster’s film Harvey was invisible and yet everyone in Dowd’s town claimed to see him. Can you imagine a town in 2009 that would coddle a crazy man like that? Besides, I’m pretty sure Fox will insist on a big special effects feature for “Harvey”. After all, isn’t that what you expect when you get in bed with Spielberg?
We’ll keep you posted on how this story develops but, for now, things on the “Harvey” seem to be moving fast so expect casting announcements in the not-too distant future.