It is official! The classic play, Harvey, will be getting a remake. Jonathan Tropper will be developing the screenplay for the story, based off the play created by Mary Chase. Pete Segal of Get Smart (2008) will be directing the film. Fans are intrigued to see how the 1940’s play will be adapted.
Harvey is a very successful play by Mary Chase, and it premiered on Broadway on November 1 in 1944. The play ran for five years at the 48th Street Theatre, and racked up 1,775 performances. The original production was directed by Antoinette Perry, and produced by Brock Pemberton. It moved onto several stages across America, Paris, and London, until it got a Broadway revival during the 70s. As the years have passed, Harvey remains a well-known and popular play.
Harvey follows Elwood P. Dowd, who is a wealthy and social man with an interesting problem. Elwood can see a large man-sized bunny named Harvey, and is convinced that he is real. Everywhere he goes he caters to the bunny with his perfect manners, and disturbs people left and right. Elwood’s sister, Veta, has had enough of his bizarre behavior after he crashes a party that she is hosting in an attempt to help her daughter find a suitable man. Veta then takes Elwood to an Asylum outside of town. Due to her crazy behavior while explaining why she is committing Elwood, she was confused as the patient and detained herself. After a series of comedic banter, the hospital fixes their mistake and tends to Elwood. Right before receiving an injection that will apparently turn him into a normal human, Veta has a change of heart after realizing she would rather have a pleasant and crazy brother, than a normal and agitated one. Further pushing her decision is the possibility that Harvey is indeed real the more strange occurrences appear around them.
Harvey was adapted into its first film in 1950. The comedy featured the popular actor James Stewart, from It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) and Anatomy of a Murder (1959), as Elwood. Josephine Hull played Veta, which won her an Oscar for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. Stewart’s performance as the friendly lunatic was amazing as well, and earned him a nomination for Best Actor in a Leading Role. After racking up 5 Oscar nominations he won Best Actor in a Leading Role for his performance, right side Katharine Hepburn, in The Philadelphia Story (1940). Harvey has since had several TV movies and series remakes, but nothing has captured the magic of the play quite like the original film.
Over 60 years later the play with hit theaters once more. Very little information has been released about it, and there is no word on when it will begin production, but 20th Century Fox will be the ones producing it. Over four year ago rumors revealed that Steven Spielberg was working on the film, but eventually the project was turned over to Peter Segal. Segal does much better with comedy movies than the dramatic Spielberg, and the charm of the concept has everything to do with comedy. More news to come as the classic movie remake, Harvey, develops.
By: Morgan Louchen