Nowadays, the name “Harvey” in association with movies is usually bad news, but Netflix is hoping to give ‘Harvey’ a good name, with a remake of the classic 1950 movie that starred James Stewart. ‘Harvey’ which started out as a stage play, tells the story of Elwood P. Dowd (played by Stewart in the movie) who has a “friend” who happens to be a six foot tall invisible rabbit. His family can’t determine whether Elwood has a form of mental illness or if Harvey is the result of his excessive alcohol consumption. (After all, he drinks for two at his local watering hole.) The play was written by Mary Chase with Oscar Brodney and Myles Connolly contributing to the screenplay.
The original film was directed by Henry Koster, who helmed numerous films of various sorts including ‘The Bishop’s Wife’, ‘The Inspector General’, ‘My Blue Heaven’, ‘The Robe’, ‘The Virgin Queen’, ‘Flower Drum Song’, ‘Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation’ and ‘The Singing Nun’.
J. David Stem and David N. Weiss (‘The Smurfs’, ‘Daddy Day Camp’) are attached to write the new screenplay. Fábrica de Cine, who is delivering the upcoming Martin Scorsese/Robert DeNiro film ‘The Irishman’ to Netflix, is also producing ‘Harvey’.
The play has been filmed for television numerous times. A film remake has been in the planning stages since the 1990s, with the rights passing through various studios including the bad Harvey, Harvey Weinstein’s Miramax, as well as Dimension Films, 20th Century Fox, and Dreamworks. At various points, Jim Carrey, Adam Sandler, John Travolta, Robert Downey Jr., and Tom Hanks were eyed to star.
With Netflix increasing the quality of its original products, it’s possible that a major star will still be selected to headline. In fact, Sandler already has a deal in place with the service and he and Stiller costarred in the award-winning Netflix film ‘The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)’.
Despite the obvious parallels, director Richard Kelly has denied that ‘Harvey’ was the inspiration for his trippy cult favorite film ‘Donnie Darko’.
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