I already knew that Hollywood long ago ran out of anything even remotely resembling imagination and creativity (with a few rare notable exceptions, such as Serenity), but there really ought to be limits. They’re supposedly remaking Harvey, for example, with Tom Hanks in the lead role. Tom Hanks is a fine actor, but that film was really written for James Stewart, and not even Tom Hanks can take James Stewart’s place.
Today, while putting together resources for my James Thurber reference page (just a vague collection of links for now), I discovered that someone has taken it into their head to remake The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. With Owen Wilson in the title role. Now, James Thurber hated the original film and reportedly offered MGM $10,000 not to make it, but I personally love it, and I love Danny Kaye‘s portrayal of Walter Mitty. Kaye was funny and witty and brought a charm to the role that I really thought was delightful. But I can’t imagine Owen Wilson bringing anything like that level of wit to the role. It just seems wrong to me.
But, then again, I was appalled when I heard that there was a “re-imagination” of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in the works, but the 2005 version with Johnny Depp as Willy Wonka proved to be very good, even though I also enjoyed Gene Wilder’s version (even if Roald Dahl despised that version of the film). So perhaps this film will turn out to be pretty good.
But Hollywood’s batting record is pretty appalling so far. If The Secret Life of Walter Mitty turns out to be any good, I will be very surprised.