Netflix is looking to produce a new adaptation of Harvey — the beloved play about a wealthy man whose best friend is an imaginary six-foot tall rabbit that became a legendary film starring James Stewart.
The new version will be written by J. David Stem and David N. Weiss, reports Deadline. It will be produced by Fabrica de Cine, which is producing Martin Scorsese's The Irishman for Netlix.
Harvey, written by Mary Chase, won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama after its Broadway debut in 1944. The story centers on Elwood P. Dowd, a wealthy man who introduces Harvey, an imaginary anthropomorphic rabbit, to everyone he meets.
The play was first adapted to the big screen in 1950 by Universal. Directed by Henry Koster, the movie provided Stewart with one of his most beloved roles and earned him an Oscar nomination. Josephine Hull, who played Elwood's sister, won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.
It later became a popular play to turn into made-for-television movies. Three were made, including a 1972 production where Stewart reprised his role. The last version was made in 1998 and starred the late Harry Anderson.
Hollywood has been trying to get a big screen adaptation of the ground for more than two decades. According to Deadline, Don Gregory picked up the rights in 1996 and sold them to Miramax. After the studio did not do anything with the property, 20th Century Fox picked it up.
In 2009, Steven Spielberg signed on to adapt the play for FOX and DreamWorks, and Tom Hanks was being considered for the Elwood role. By December 2009 though, Spielberg left the project and it remained dormant until Netflix stepped in this week.
Stem and Weiss worked together on Shrek 2, The Smurfs and The Smurfs 2. In 1997, the two earned Emmy nominations for their work on Nickelodeon's Rugrats.
Harvey is not the only Hollywood classic getting a remake from Netflix. Last month, The Hollywood Reporter confirmed that Netflix is working with Working Title to produce a new adaptation of Daphne du Maurier's classic Rebecca, which was famously turned into a Best Picture-winning film by director Alfred Hitchcock and producer David O. Selznick in 1940.
The novel and film tell the story of a young woman who arrives at her new husband's imposing, Gothic home on the English coast, only to be tormented by the overwhelming shadow of Rebecca, her husband's dead first wife.
The new Rebecca will be directed by Ben Wheatley (Free Fire) and star Armie Hammer and Lily James in the roles played by Lawrence Olivier and Joan Fontaine in the Hitchcock film.
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