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Who Should Star in Harvey?

by Anne Thompson
August 17, 2009 11:28 AM
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Now that Tom Hanks is no longer in the running for Steven Spielberg's remake of the Universal classic Harvey--because he was understandably leery, I hear, of the inevitable comparisons with James Stewart in the original role--who could pull this off? Hanks is probably too close to Stewart on some level--people have been comparing them his entire career. The role should be played by a warm and likable man who can convince us that he is talking to a six-foot rabbit. That means a top-notch actor who can hold the screen and pull in audiences. Here's my list: vote! And write in anyone you think I've overlooked.

Here's a clip from the original:

Who should star in Spielberg's Harvey?
Will Smith
Harrison Ford
George Clooney
Johnny Depp
Nic Cage
Russell Crowe
Brad Pitt
Jim Carrey
Denzel Washington
Leonardo Di Caprio
Colin Firth
Mel Gibson
Hugh Grant free polls


  • happyinca | August 29, 2009 9:53 AMReply

    Hugh Laurie said in a live Web chat last week that he would love to play Harvey. Anybody got Spielberg's number? Get those two on the phone right away!

  • here | August 28, 2009 4:39 AMReply

    Hugh Laurie.He would be brillant,just brillant!

  • rbrown205 | August 28, 2009 3:04 AMReply

    Hugh Laurie would do it magnificently. There are few people who could immerse themselves into a role that they are excited about as does Hugh.
    He is a master of wordless communication - I could see in his face the strange combination of sad wisdom and independent madness that portraying Dowd would require.

  • downhomedon | August 26, 2009 5:55 AMReply

    I think Harrison Ford or Richard Dreyfuss could have done this role a great service fifteen years ago. Today, my choice would probably be a woman and I'd vote for Emma Thompson or Cate Blanchett. For box office draw, apart from the men on your list, I suppose you could get Tobey Maguire or Christian Bale.

  • Kim Irwin Dildine | August 26, 2009 3:17 AMReply

    I could play the part, but seeing as it's show "business", they'll pick a "box office draw" to play the lead. Maybe I could be Doctor Chumley.

  • theres | August 25, 2009 10:22 AMReply

    paolo nuitini, have you seen his video? his interaction with the giant rabbit?

  • jl | August 19, 2009 1:52 AMReply

    mos def?

  • Tom O. | August 19, 2009 1:40 AMReply

    I would say Will Ferrell, after seeing him in Stranger than Fiction

  • rgm | August 18, 2009 12:08 PMReply

    Harvey is a pooka. He would not box

  • Griff | August 18, 2009 11:29 AMReply

    Hugh Laurie.

  • Terry | August 18, 2009 10:27 AMReply

    There is no choice like "none of the above". I say Hugh Jackman. If Spielberg wants to do a new version, not a remake, he needs someone completely different from James Stewart and also someone who is a great actor AND has experience from stage since this is more like a stage play. Hugh is a fantastic stage actor.

  • Brian | August 18, 2009 9:26 AMReply

    Mickey Rourke.

    Or Jason Statham. Then they can add some martial arts to it. What a great fight you can stage with an invisible Harvey.

  • nosygirl | August 18, 2009 9:04 AMReply

    John Krasinski from The Office is the only choice.

  • Maurizio | August 18, 2009 8:22 AMReply

    While it's very likely a top star will be chosen, I hope Spielberg will have the guts to cast a very good actor independently from his bankability.

    My ideal pick would be Paul Giamatti.

  • moviefan | August 18, 2009 7:05 AMReply

    I also like Mark Ruffalo. He may not be a huge B.O. draw but he's always excellent and I think he'd do a great job as Elwood.

  • rgm | August 18, 2009 7:00 AMReply

    When he played Elwood P. Dowd, Stewart was a youthful 42, and brought to that role the genial demeanor of a holy innocent. Whoever plays him today, needs to say (without echoing Forrest Gump ) "Years ago my mother used to say to me, she'd say, "In this world, Elwood, you must be" - she always called me Elwood - "In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant." Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant. You may quote me." Playing smart is a snap for an actor, but doing pleasant straight-faced? When a pretty sales girl asks Elwood "What can I do for you, Mr. Dowd?" He says, "What did you have in mind?" The role calls for someone who can give that ( deliberately-written salacious ) reply without innuendo. Not easy. There is a plot against Elwood and we are rooting for him -- only gradually does it occur to us that the man may be moving happily, aware always, and genial to a fault, but in a slight alcoholic bliss. Who, today, can bring all this off. I don't know. Spacey might, playing against type, but he's getting mature. Cage too. The others polled, we know almost too well to suspend disbelief.

  • Javier | August 18, 2009 4:27 AMReply

    Will Ferrell, Will Ferrell, Will Ferrell!!!!!!

  • Ben | August 18, 2009 3:23 AMReply

    Sacha Baron Cohen or Steve Carell.

  • Scot B | August 18, 2009 3:17 AMReply

    Kevin Spacey would be my choice.

  • Nancy | August 18, 2009 2:43 AMReply

    Hugh Jackman would be fabulous.

  • Deaf Indian Muslim Anarchist! | August 18, 2009 2:24 AMReply

    Hell NO to the remake. I never saw how Tom Hanks is similar to James Stewart. Stewart could ACT, unlike Tom Hanks.


  • Ryan Sartor | August 18, 2009 2:20 AMReply

    Whom do you suggest rgm?

    I'd say Ryan Gosling if he hadn't done "Lars and the Real Girl."

  • Crow T Robot | August 18, 2009 1:51 AMReply

    Javier Bardem is about halfway on the path to super-stardom. He does comedy and drama with a Tom Hanks level of ease. The audiences who have seen him love him the way they love Clooney. One more right role in the right movie will seal the deal. Spielberg should consider him.

  • jl | August 18, 2009 1:40 AMReply

    how about

    ed norton?
    mark ruffalo?

  • Sarah | August 18, 2009 1:35 AMReply

    John Krasinski

  • brad o. | August 18, 2009 1:22 AMReply

    I vote for John C. Reilly. I think he'd be perfect.

  • Charles J | August 18, 2009 1:13 AMReply

    How about Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

    Why does it have to be man in the role? Why not Anna Faris?

  • rgm | August 17, 2009 12:17 PMReply

    None of the above. You had better watch that movie again, Anne

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