Which suggests that unlike SO many of the other announced versions, this one is actually a thing.
I have gone on about how much I love the Secret Life of Walter Mitty before. Similarly, The Wife has reviewed the film at her blog, Tales of the Easily Distracted. It is cinematic perfection - a solid yet simple plot at its base and a stellar cast, including Kaye, Karloff (in a rare comedic performance) Virginia Mayo and Ann Rutherford, who, sadly, just passed away this week.
And the songs. It’s not a Danny Kaye film without them, and did this one deliver. The afore-linked “Symphony for Unstrung Tongue” and “Anatole of Paris” dance at the top of the long list of Danny and Sylvia’s best work.
There’s been more than a few people connected the Mitty revival - the two that had us the most interested were Jim Carrey and Roberto Benigni, as they both have the potential for awesome physical comedy. Finally, Ben Stiller got ahold of the role, and is directing it as well. He plays a very good put-upon man, which is key for Walter.
More than a few things are changing in this version. Kathryn Hahn is playing his sister (there’s no sister in either the original story or the movie) and Shirley MacLaine is playing their mother, and if anyone can show up Faye Bainter, it’s Shirley. Lesbian-resembling funnyman Patton Oswalt is in the film, though his role is unknown. I think he could do equally well in either the Mr. Pierce or Tubby Wadsworth analogues. More so than any other, the appearance of Kristen Wiig in the cast gives me hope the film will contain funny. Again, exactly who she’s playing is unknown at the moment - she could be playing Walter’s girlfriend, or the Virginia Mayo instigator to adventure, or perhaps both
For those who bristle at the idea of making changes to the original film (or indeed re-making it at all), allow me to remind you that the film took massive liberties with the short story. The entirety of the Thurber narrative took place in the car with his wife, not his mother. All we get of the story is used up in the first scene, and the film trailblazes into new material from there on. So you’re technically more keen on the first set of changes than you are in the original.
It’s impossible to tell the context of the scene being filmed in the pic above. They’re clearly made up to be old, but I’d be surprised if they play Walter as an old man in the whole film. You lose a lot of ability to do the physical work I think the film needs. So this may be one of WM’s daydreams. It’d be interesting to see a less-bombastic dream, one where he simply imagines himself old and happy with his girl.
I’m going to keep tabs on this film, as I really hope they can do something new and entertaining with it. It’s filming as we speak in NYC - here’s a pic just taken by someone of their location shooting.
There’s exactly one guaranteed positive here. There’s no doubt that whoever has the rights to the original will get off their collective hinder and release a feature-packed disc of the original film. If the new one is entertaining, it’s only gravy.