Spielberg's Doomed Invisible-Rabbit Movie

If you've never seen the movie Harvey -- hey, what do you mean you've never seen Harvey? It's one of the best movies ever!

Ahem. Sorry, we'll start over.

If you've never seen the movie Harvey, your chance to see the brand-new Steven Spielberg remake has passed. Because it's not happening. Spielberg announced mere months ago that he was going to direct a remake of the 1950 Jimmy Stewart film. The Oscar-winning comedy -- about a lovable lush from a wealthy family whose best friend is a giant invisible rabbit -- seemed like a weird choice for a remake, but it would have been fun to see Spielberg tackle comedy for a change.

Why was the project derailed so fast? Because Spielberg couldn't get a leading man. His first choice, Tom Hanks, is probably the closet modern equivalent to the legendary Stewart. But Hanks didn't want to play the role (maybe it was too Forrest Gump-y for his taste.) At one point, Will Smith was rumored to be playing the part. Then the script passed to Robert Downey Jr. Downey, who's played lots of jittery addicts, might have had a drastically different interpretation of Harvey -- but apparently Spielberg didn't want that, because when Downey started suggesting script rewrites, the director called the whole thing off.

The Harvey remake could still happen, but we'll have to wait for a new director and star. In the meantime, we highly recommend the original movie, which the American Film Institute ranked the #35 comedy of all time (between National Lampoon's Animal House and Groundhog Day, if you must know). Sure, the invisible-rabbit premise is goofy, and the funny-drunk thing is dated. But like Forrest Gump, the movie is really about the power of one optimist to bring hope to a cynical world. And in these troubled times, couldn't we all use a little more of that?

What's your favorite classic comedy? Chime in below!

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