Spielberg No Longer Remaking ‘Harvey’

Published 4 years ago by , Updated August 1st, 2013 at 3:58 pm,

Steven Spielberg Harvey remake Spielberg No Longer Remaking Harvey

For a few months now it’s been known that Steven Spielberg was going to direct a remake of Harvey, the 1950 film starring James Stewart as a mild-mannered man who just happens to be best friends with a six-foot tall imaginary rabbit. Spielberg’s film was actually to be an adaptation of the original Pulitzer Prize-winning play that spawned the 1950 film, but it was still a remake in a sense.

However, news comes today from Variety that even though we’ll still likely see a Harvey remake, it won’t be with Spielberg at the helm. Even though he’s spent the last half year developing it, Spielberg delivered the news himself to 20th Century Fox this week that he won’t be helming the film. A spokesperson confirmed his quitting the project, although she wasn’t specific about the reason.

One of the biggest challenges for Spielberg was finding a suitable actor to play Elwood P. Dowd, played in the ’50s film by the late-great Jimmy Stewart. Naturally for Spielberg, the go-to-guy was Tom Hanks, however Hanks didn’t want to play a role that was filled by the iconic Hollywood actor. For several months, Spielberg and Fox had been trying to get Iron Man himself, Robert Downey Jr., to take the role and although the actor never committed to anything, he did make some suggestions with regards to the script, written by Jonathan Tropper. Supposedly Spielberg and Tropper couldn’t get into any sort of “creative sync” on the script, and now the director has exited the pic.

This is certainly a disappointment for Fox, which already had been identifying sound-stages for a shooting start date of early 2010 for Harvey. 20th Century Fox topper Tom Rothman got the script from Fox 2000 execs Elizabeth Gabler and Carla Hacken, and when he showed it to Spielberg he got a “yes” in a matter of days. It seems strange to me that Spielberg would walk from the project, especially since he hasn’t directed a movie for the reconstituted Dreamworks, something which he is apparently “itching” to do now they have a funding partnership with Reliance. Fox 2000 is going to continue to develop Harvey, and could re-approach both Spielberg and Downey Jr. at some point (whether Spielberg would consider it again is another matter…).

So, if Spielberg won’t be directing Harvey, what will be his next project? Well, after recently wrapping the upcoming 3D motion-capture flick, Tintin, his next film appears to be his long-gestating Lincoln biopic, which has Liam Neeson attached to star as the former President. The last we heard, even though the project had been postponed due to budget and locations restraints, Spielberg hasn’t forgotten about it.

There’s also a project called The 39 Clues, scripted by Jeff Nathanson, who’s worked with Spielberg many-a-time, having written several of his movies over the last decade such as The Terminal, Indiana Jones 4 (the story, anyway) and Catch Me If You Can. You may think that makes The 39 Clues most likely to be Spielberg’s next, but the most recent Lincoln script was written by Tony Kushner, who wrote Spielberg’s Munich. If I had to guess, I’d say Lincoln will be next, but it could go either way.

I just wonder where Indiana Jones 5 fits into Spielberg’s priority list…

Spielberg was the big reason I was looking forward to another Harvey (along with the possibility of RDJ starring in the lead role), but with him gone I don’t have much interest in it anymore. I’ll probably still see it, if nothing else, to see how the story translates into the modern movie age, but my excitement will only rise way up again if Spielberg happens to change his mind.

Are you disappointed Spielberg has left the Harvey remake/new adaptation? Are you still interested in seeing it without the mega-director/producer’s involvement? Who do you think should take his place in the director’s chair?

It’s not known whether the planned early 2010 production start still stands. Stay tuned.

Source: Variety

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  1. I have to admit I was a bit leery about Spielberg directing Harvey, primarily because I wasn’t sure whether he’d stay faithful to the original source material, and not show us the rabbit.

    The reason why I was interested in Harvey was the possibility of RDJ playing the role of Elwood P.Dowd. I think he’d be able to do quite well with the role, and to see him in a comedic role is always a pleasure.

    I’d still like to see a remake of Harvey (with RDJ, hopefully), whether Steven Spielberg is directing it or not. However, I’m not exactly sure who could direct the movie, though.

  2. I had doubts too considering what he did with WotW. also about RDJ too. Unless you change Elwood too much you need someone who can play a more subdued person. all I have seen him do is Iron man and the up coming Sherlock Holmes and in both he seems to be a little over the top. The best person to do it IMHO would be Robin williams. Watch him in Bicentennial Man and you see him playing Andrew very much like Ekwood P Dowd

  3. Choices for Elwood P. Dowd:
    #1 – Jim Carrey (tall, thin, comfortable talking to air. Talked to animals in “Ace Ventura”)
    #2 – Vin Diesel (keeps a straight face well.. ["It's a tea-cup..."] also can be loveable like Jimmy Stewart’s character.)
    #3 – Nicholas Cage
    #4 – Christopher Lee (Is he too old yet??????)
    #5 – Anthony Perkins … oh, sorry.. he’s dead (nevermind that one…:-{
    #6 – JOHN LITHGOW (we’re brainstorming here:-) )He worked with bigfoot, what’s so different about a pooka? He also has experience with gremlins on airplane wings :-)
    Very talented man!!!
    #7 – Jon Bon Jovi – LOVED him as a vampire hunter!!!
    #8 – Morgan Freeman …. quiet & classy — he could befriend a pooka with grace.

    Director choices:
    #1 – Ron Howard – (still in touch w/ his inner-Opie. Someone who could believe in pookas.)

    OR – anybody that could keep it true to the ‘old’ while making it ‘new’ :-P

  4. Oh, boy!
    I wish they would leave the classics alone!
    Why don’t they remake some newer/lousy movies instead (and there are plenty of those!)

    Next thing – there will be a remake of “Casablanca” (a vampire musical?) with Robert Patison in Bogarts role. LOL!

  5. I dont mind remakes. There is a new generation out there and what was “good” for me may not translate well to them.

    I am still looking forward to this as It was my first play I had a part in while in Jr. High. We also did Arsenic and Old Lace…

    Anyho regardless still looking forward to seeing this.

  6. Not six feet tall.

    Six feet three and a half.

    (Let’s stick to the facts here … )

    ;)

  7. No more “contemporary” versions of beautifully made classic films. Remember “Doctor Doolittle”? What a tasteless way to honor films, actors and stories that have always been good and true to their fans. Is there no creativity anymore? Are we doomed to continue ruining the grace and simplicity of movies of the past? I certainly hope not, and I for one am glad that this terrible excuse to remake one of the lovliest films ever made has been put back on the shelf.

    Pooooo to you, Fox 2000. Pooooooo to you!!

  8. PS I cannot believe someone suggested Vin Diesel and Jon Bon Jovi – reading Robin Williams as a suggestion was bad enough! I can’t imagine what Vin Diesel fans would do when they went to see this film and didn’t see some fancy, atrocious car flip over, catch fire and loosen some dame’s top in the first scene.

    Blek. I have more to write, but it’s mean, so I’m forcing myself to stop.

  9. I love remakes! You can always see the old too! They should use RBJ in the new Harvey. Another movie they should consider remaking is Charade with Cary Grant.

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