It seems like just about every previously-released popular (or semi-popular) title under the sun is getting remade by Hollywood nowadays (case in point – the Arthur remake hits theaters today). One remake that’s taken a while to move forward – and I doubt too many people are even aware of – is a new version of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.
Ben Stiller is actively in talks to star in the film, which would be a remake of the 1947 Danny Kaye comedy-adventure flick, which was itself loosely based on James Thurber’s short story “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”.
A modern cinematic version of Secret Life of Walter Mitty has been in the cards for years now, but has not yet made it to the production stage of development. Deadline says that directors ranging from Steven Spielberg to Ron Howard have expressed interest in the remake, and that comedic types like Jim Carrey, Mike Myers, Sacha Baron Cohen, and Owen Wilson have all been prospective stars at some point.
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty tells the tale of… Walter Mitty, a woebegone editor at a publishing company who gets mocked and harassed by just about everyone, including his overbearing mom, his deceitful boss, his dim-witted fiancee – and even her overbearing mom.
Fortunately, Walter leads an active fantasy life and he often imagines himself getting up to all sorts of fantastical adventures. When he meets the girl of his dreams, however, Walter ends up becoming ensnared in a real-life (and potentially life-threatening) adventure of his own.
Stiller’s brand of comedy ranges from kid-friendly (the Night at the Museum movies) to pushing the envelope at a PG-13 level (Zoolander, the Meet the Parents franchise) to sometimes just adult-only (Tropic Thunder). Secret Life of Walter Mitty is being devised as a PG-Rated action-comedy pic by screenwriter Steve Conrad (The Pursuit of Happyness), which makes sense – given the tone of the original 1947 movie.
Aside from the odd pic like Zoolander, Stiller seems to generally have two modes of operation in comedies: he’s either an arrogant and self-obsessed jerk (Heavy Weights, Dodgeball, Tropic Thunder) or – if you’ll pardon the term – basically a hapless schmuck (There’s Something About Mary, The Cable Guy, The Heartbreak Kid, etc.). It sounds like he’ll be doing the latter schtick in Secret Life of Walter Mitty, so you probably already have an inkling of how that’s going to play out.
With Stiller all but locked to star in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Fox is now on the lookout for a name director to helm the remake. I can’t say I have especially strong feelings about Hollywood remaking this particular movie, but I’m not all that curious to see how it turns out, either. How about you?