A remake of the 1947 comedy, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty has been bouncing around in Hollywood for several years now. It finally appeared to land on its feet this past spring, with Ben Stiller becoming attached to headline the film.
Directors like Steven Spielberg, Ron Howard, and Gore Verbinski all expressed interest in helming the pic at some point, but now it seems that 20th Century Fox has found a suitable candidate to call the shots on Stiller’s new laughfest – namely, Stiller himself.
Variety says that Stiller has entered negotiations to direct the new take on Secret Life of Walter Mitty, which is being scripted by Steve Conrad (The Pursuit of Happyness). Like the 1947 original, this new film would also be a loose adaptation of the 1939 short story by James Thurber.
Secret Life of Walter Mitty tells the story of Mr. Mitty, a hapless book editor who seems to mess up every opportunity that comes his way. Picked on by everyone from his idea-stealing boss to his overbearing mother, Walter handles the doldrums of his everyday existence by leading an active fantasy life, where he imagines himself getting involved in all sorts of exciting adventures. Of course, things take a turn for the crazy when Walter gets tangled up in a grand adventure in real life as well.
If the idea of Stiller directing himself in a broad comedy about a (pardon the term) schmuck who becomes a pawn in a dangerous real-world scheme sounds familiar – don’t worry, it’s not just you (see: Tropic Thunder and Zoolander).
While Stiller, the actor, can be rather inconsistent when it comes to selecting good movies to appear in (case in point – his last two live-action roles were in Little Fockers and Greenberg), Stiller the director seems to generally leave his fan base pleased with his work. Tropic Thunder was a sizable box office hit back in 2008, there have been rumors about a Zoolander 2 for years now – even Stiller’s dark comedy, The Cable Guy, has earned itself a semi-cult following since it was originally given a cooler reception back in 1996.
That’s all to say: If you like Stiller’s previous outings as director, then chances are good you’ll approve of what he delivers with The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Everyone else might want to wait and learn more about the project before getting excited (or not).