Robert Downey Jr. For Spielberg's Harvey?
When Steven Spielberg announced a while back that he was remaking the Jimmy Stewart classic Harvey, most everyone immediately assumed that Tom Hanks, frequently described as the Jimmy Stewart of our era, would jump in to play the lead. The buzz got so strong that Hanks actually had to come out and deny it, and without his frequent collaborator, Spielberg has turned to one of the other most beloved and gifted actors of the moment-- Robert Downey Jr.
Buried in today's Variety piece about the progress on Spielberg's Lincoln biopic-- it's happening, he swears!-- there's a brief bit saying that Spielberg is considering Downey Jr. for the role of Elwood P. Dowd, the man who is best friends with an invisible, six-foot-tall rabbit. And, of course Downey Jr. is great for the part, in the way he's great for virtually any part. But if you've ever seen the incredibly goofy 1993 comedy Heart and Souls, in which Downey Jr. is followed by a quartet of friendly ghosts, you know he's especially good at playing the kind of crazy the audience believes in anyway.
In other words, great choice from Spielberg, even if it's not necessarily so far away from Jimmy Stewart that the character can go an entirely new direction. We could complain that we'd rather see him take the movie somewhere weirder, but complaining about more Downey Jr. is never the right idea.
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