Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
First Official Image: Jesse Eisenberg As Lex Luthor In 'Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice' First Official Image: Jesse Eisenberg As Lex Luthor In 'Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice' Watch: First Trailer For Arnold Schwarzenegger's Zombie Pic 'Maggie' With Abigail Breslin Watch: First Trailer For Arnold Schwarzenegger's Zombie Pic 'Maggie' With Abigail Breslin Idris Elba Replaces Jamie Foxx In Harmony Korine's 'The Trap,' Al Pacino, Robert Pattinson, James Franco Also Join Idris Elba Replaces Jamie Foxx In Harmony Korine's 'The Trap,' Al Pacino, Robert Pattinson, James Franco Also Join 10 Terrible Films Starring Great Actors 10 Terrible Films Starring Great Actors Watch: Tom Hanks Acts Out His Filmography In 7-Minutes On 'The Late Late Show' Watch: Tom Hanks Acts Out His Filmography In 7-Minutes On 'The Late Late Show' Watch: Trailer For 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' Unrated Blu-Ray Edition, Will Also Feature An Alternate Ending Watch: Trailer For 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' Unrated Blu-Ray Edition, Will Also Feature An Alternate Ending New Directors/New Films Review: Jia Zhang-ke Produced 'K' Is A New Take On Franz Kafka's 'The Castle' New Directors/New Films Review: Jia Zhang-ke Produced 'K' Is A New Take On Franz Kafka's 'The Castle' Viggo Mortensen Reveals He Turned Down Quentin Tarantino's 'The Hateful Eight,' Auditioned For 'Reservoir Dogs' Viggo Mortensen Reveals He Turned Down Quentin Tarantino's 'The Hateful Eight,' Auditioned For 'Reservoir Dogs' Watch: First Teaser Trailer For 'Mission: Impossible: Rogue Nation' With Tom Cruise Arrives, If You Choose To Accept It Watch: First Teaser Trailer For 'Mission: Impossible: Rogue Nation' With Tom Cruise Arrives, If You Choose To Accept It Keanu Reeves, Jim Carrey & Jason Momoa Join Ana Lily Amirpour’s Cannibal Love Story ‘The Bad Batch’ Keanu Reeves, Jim Carrey & Jason Momoa Join Ana Lily Amirpour’s Cannibal Love Story ‘The Bad Batch’ Jonathan Nolan Says His Original Ending To 'Interstellar' Was “Much More Straightforward” Jonathan Nolan Says His Original Ending To 'Interstellar' Was “Much More Straightforward” The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far 13 Cult Films About Cults 13 Cult Films About Cults The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen Best Of 2014: The 15 Best Movie Soundtracks Of 2014 Best Of 2014: The 15 Best Movie Soundtracks Of 2014 The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More

Mel Gibson, Woody Harrelson & Sinbad Were All Considered To Lead 'Stretch Armstrong' Over The Years

Photo of Kevin Jagernauth By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist July 19, 2013 at 4:02PM

Hollywood is littered with projects that have been in development for years and even decades, passing from one producer to another, from one studio to the next, from one writer to even more scribes, like an orphan no one wants to care for. And one of those projects is "Stretch Armstrong." In the history of this blog alone, Nicholas Stoller was once hired to pen the screenplay, with Rob Letterman ("Monsters Vs. Aliens") attached to direct. That incarnation never happened, and for a while Taylor Lautner was attached to star, before he was bounced off the project once everyone realized he wasn't going to be able to carry a movie on his shoulders outside of "Twilight." But the history of "Stretch Armstrong" is even stranger...
2
Stretch Armstrong Mel Gibson Woody Harrelson Sinbad

Hollywood is littered with projects that have been in development for years and even decades, passing from one producer to another, from one studio to the next, from one writer to even more scribes, like an orphan no one wants to care for. And one of those projects is "Stretch Armstrong." In the history of this blog alone, Nicholas Stoller was once hired to pen the screenplay, with Rob Letterman ("Monsters Vs. Aliens") attached to direct. That incarnation never happened, and for a while Taylor Lautner was attached to star, before he was bounced off the project once everyone realized he wasn't going to be able to carry a movie on his shoulders outside of "Twilight." But the history of "Stretch Armstrong" is even stranger...

THR has an oral recap of the project (somewhat random, but something tells us Relativity will announce the new lead for "Stretch Armstrong," now due in 2014, soon) and some rather fascinating names were approached/put on wishlists over the years. "John [Osher, owner of CAP Toys] was really locked on wanting Mel Gibson. We all thought it was kind of weird. And that was before the notoriety that Mel sort of can conjure now and then," formerly attached director William Dear ("Angels In The Outfield," "Harry And The Hendersons") revealed. But it's Osher himself who drops some of the more out there choices producers were tossing around.

"Yes, Mel was discussed. We were interested in any famous actor who had a prominent chin that could look like Stretch Armstrong. And Woody Harrelson also was considered," the exec said. "When they got to Sinbad, I realized they didn’t care about what Stretch Armstrong looked like. I was interested in getting someone who could look like Stretch Armstrong because we had a toy that related to it and we didn’t have to make a new toy. Stretch was blond and had a big chin. Then they started talking Danny DeVito and this and that. Then I realized that they were in the movie business. Anything about toys was inconsequential."

Yes, Danny DeVito. The actor was going make a pretty nice chunk of change for the part, but development woes and his demands thwarted it. "Danny DeVito did not want to do any short jokes," producer Doug Draizin said. "The whole point of Stretch Armstrong was stretching and Danny DeVito, the short guy, stretching. Apparently, he didn’t want any references made to that. What came back to me was that [former president of Disney animation] Peter Schneider said, 'There’s no way I’m paying Danny DeVito $10 million to be in a movie called Stretch Armstrong when you can’t make any real jokes.' Something like that. Don’t quote me. I was devastated. Danny left the project. Then we had the idea of Jackie Chan."

So yes, welcome to Hollywood, where Sinbad and Jackie Chan are considered viable options for "Stretch Armstrong." The entire THR piece is pretty amazing to read simply as a crash course in development hell. As for the movie coming next year, directed by (sigh) Breck Eisner? Well, Relativity has their work cut out for them. "The biggest problem was that it wasn’t a superhero movie. There was no origin on Stretch. It’s just a title," Draizin notes about the failed past movies. 

Good luck, everyone and see you on April 11, 2014 (though will that date hold with no star or cast announced, and not a single frame of footage shot yet?).


This article is related to: Stretch Armstrong, Mel Gibson, Woody Harrelson, Danny DeVito, Jackie Chan


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


Check out Indiewire on LockerDome on LockerDome

E-Mail Updates