Jenny Lumet Rewriting Jonathan Demme's 'Honeymoon With Harry'

by Simon Dang
March 2, 2011 4:15 AM
6 Comments
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After the critical darling that was "Rachel Getting Married," Jenny Lumet and Jonathan Demme are set to reunite on "Honeymoon With Harry," a project that first came to light last fall.

Showbiz411 spoke to Lumet who confirmed that the duo are plotting a reteaming which will again see Lumet writing and Demme behind the camera. Paul Haggis wrote the original draft, based on a still-unpublished novel by Bart Baker, and sold it to New Line back in 2004. And while she doesn't name the project to Friedman, last year trade publications confirmed that Lumet came on board to rewrite. The story is about an alcoholic who reforms his ways after falling in love with a girl, only to relapse after she dies shortly before their wedding. Drowning his sorrows on what would have been their honeymoon, he crosses paths with her father, who is there to scatter his daughter's ashes on her favorite beach. Friedman does add that Lumet has taken it to her own father, veteran writer-director Sidney Lumet (who hasn't been seen since 2007's "Before The Devil Knows You're Dead" and is reportedly facing health issues) to help "fix a problem in the second act of the script."

Lumet and Demme's first collaboration on the intimately shot study of two sisters, played to acclaim by Anne Hathaway and the criminally underrated Rosemarie DeWitt, featured at both Venice and the Toronto Film Festival catalyzing a run that ended up with Hathaway earning her first Oscar nomination.

Robert De Niro and Bradley Cooper were initially attached the project last year, although it's unknown if they're still linked or have moved on -- we'd guess it'll depend on what the finished script looks like. We also hear that the hunt is on for the female lead as well. It'll be interesting to see what the duo will conjure up now -- neither party has done anything of note since 'Rachel' though Demme has an animated adaptation of Dave Egger's Post-Katrina novel "Zeitoun" in the works and was recently replaced by Kevin MacDonald on the long-gestating Bob Marley documentary -- on which he himself was a replacement for Martin Scorsese. As for Lumet, she recently did an uncredited rewrite on the godawful Robert Pattinson vehicle "Remember Me" but wisely, that work is being kept off her IMDB resumé.

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6 Comments

  • Hollywood Book Reader | March 3, 2011 3:10 AMReply

    I read a few books a week. I had the pleasure of reading Honeymoon with Harry just a short few months after Mr. Baker wrote it and I loved it.

    I read the first script that Paul Haggis wrote and I must say is by far the closest script to the book. I’ve had the opportunity to read the other rewrites and not only these rewrites are so far from Mr. Baker’s original story, it has lost the beauty of it.

    I keep reading about people doing rewrites to Honeymoon with Harry but no one has called Mr. Baker. Who else knows the core of the story as well as the original writer? Mr. Baker is a screen writer as well; why not give him the opportunity for the rewrites.

    Okay, I’ll give you an example why I think Mr. Baker should be called. I have a few kids and I could call different nannies to take care of my kids, and though I am sure they will do a great job, no one has the ability to take care of my children like I do.

    Same with this novel, I am sure it took Mr. Baker awhile to give birth to his story, so it’s close to his heart, for that reason alone I think he is the perfect candidate for the rewrites.

    The studio should take into consideration that this story is not Haggis, Demme’s, Lumet or any other person who has done or will do any rewrites; this story is Mr. Baker’s.

    So these other screen writers wrote a romantic screenplay that became a mediocre made movie, does that mean they are the right fit for a rewrite? I also know that Hollywood is not about who is right for a rewrite, is who they know, is all about keeping friends working not what is good for the project.

    No, I do not know Mr. Baker personally; I’m just tired of Hollywood destroying good story lines.

    Demme, go back to the root, the source of the story then you will have a great script.

  • Harry Fan | March 3, 2011 1:48 AMReply

    I have read the novel on which this movie project is based. It's one of the best books I've ever read. And universally loved by those who have read it. Are you sure it's still unpublished? If so, I can't imagine why not. Not sure why Bart Baker wouldn't published it -- or why they aren't having him write the script. He's an accomplished screenwriter with a litany of produced TV and feature films. I also read the first draft of this script that Paul Haggis wrote. He followed the book closely and captured a lot of the magic of the book. He had Jack Nicholson and Vince Vaugn attached. Not sure what happened there but they fell off the project.

    I hope that Demme and Lumet don't try to put their own spin on what already is a great story. There's nothing more aggravating than having people change a book that's already terrific. If you read the book, you can literally see a movie in your head. My fear with all good books is if they change too much, people are going to angry the movie doesn't follow the book more closely. The book is that good. It's hilariously funny and equally gut wrenching and emotional. Truly one of the best, most emotionally satisfying reads I've ever had. Maybe Mr. Baker has published since I read the manuscript a few years ago. Check Amazon or Barnes and Noble.com andt be prepared to belly laugh but also have a box of tissues handy.

  • WME | March 3, 2011 1:30 AMReply

    Mike Million did a big rewrite on this script as well. Excellent project all around, hope it gets made.

  • jt | March 2, 2011 7:05 AMReply

    Sidney Lumet is one of the all-time greats, and I hope his health improves. What saddens me, he was only given a honorary Oscar, but not an actual winning Oscar, beyond ridiculous.

  • jt | March 2, 2011 6:58 AMReply

    The underrated , " Rachel Getting Married" , is one of the best American family dramas since , "Ordinary People"- a true classic. Anne Hathaway absolutely shined in that film, and showed she has gravitas. Hopefully , Anne can work with Jonathan Demme again.

    Yes, Rosemarie DeWitt doesn't get her due, and she deserved an Oscar nomination alongside Hathaway for that wonderful film ( also Bill Irwin deserved a nomination) . The acting, directing, and the unforgettable music will make this film timeless.

  • BradZuhl | March 2, 2011 4:49 AMReply

    Sorry to hear that Sidney Lumet is having health issues. And I'm really glad to hear that Demme is going to get back behind the camera. He doesn't make enough movies!

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