The rumor has been floating around for a few weeks, but I didn’t really want to announce it here until it was confirmed, otherwise I’d have to write a second post detailing exactly what I revealed in the first, but it’s (mostly) official, according to The L.A. Times: Robert Downey, Jr. is set to play the lead in Steven Spielberg’s remake of Harvey.
I don’t think you could’ve found a better guy to take the role,
Most folk assumed that Tom Hanks would ultimately land the role, but he had no interest. I think Downey is an even better choice,anyway. For the unfamiliar, Harvey is about a man named Elwood whose best friend is a 6’3 rabbit named Harvey. People think he’s crazy. They think he’s a drunk. Mental institutionalization is pursued. And it’s hard to know whether Harvey exists or not. But it doesn’t matter; all that matters, in the end, is that Elwood believes it and that Harvey makes him happy.
It’s right in Spielberg’s wheelhouse — a well-made film chock full of sentimentality. And Downey, a former drunk of sorts himself, seems ideal for the role of Elwood.
Granted, it’s hard to imagine anyone improving on the original, and not even RDJ could top Jimmy Stewart, but remakes are inevitable, and as long as we’re succumbing to their inevitability, we may as well appreciate that the right modern actors and directors are remaking them. (Although, it’s only fair, then, that someone turn around and remake Close Encounters or E.T. to spite Spielberg).
The important thing, really, is that Harvey remain absent in the film. Other than that, I trust Spielberg and RDJ will make the right movie.
Also, in related RDJ news, Jamie Foxx — who worked with RDJ on The Soloist — has joined the cast of Due Date, Todd Phllips’ follow-up to The Hangover. Foxx will play the best friend of RDJ’s character, who has to travel across country with his college buddy (Zach Galifianakis) to see the birth of his child (the wife will be played by Michelle Monaghan). Great cast — and it’s good to see both RDJ and Foxx take on comedic roles, especially the latter, as Foxx’s attempts to recapture Oscar glory have become both heavy-handed and transparent since Ray.