Stiller had been circulating the property for some time. Last April, he was reported to have been in talks to star in the film. Though no director had yet been attached at that time, names like Ron Howard, Steven Spielberg and Gore Verbinski were being bandied about. Previously, both Mike Meyers and Sacha Baron Cohen had been considering the project as a starring vehicle.
Based somewhat loosely on a short story by James Thurber, the original film starred Danny Kaye as a timid magazine proofreader who retreats into fantasy world constructed from the colorful covers of the magazines he works for.Things get complicated whenthe same beautiful woman who appears throughout these fantasies (Virginia Mayo) appearsto him in real life being pursued by Boris Karloff and his gang of jewel thieves.
While I like Stiller as a director, I am casting a jaundiced eye at this project. Stiller is great when he’s playing large, cartoonish characters like he did on his old Fox sketch show or in Dodge Ball and Tropic Thunder. I can see where some would think that Stiller would be great for the role and its many fantasy personas that Mitty conjures. But in the original Kaye still manages to imbue his own fantasies with a shade of his own sweet personalit, where Stiller tends to loose himself in the broad-ness of the characters he plays.
The film is being prepped for a January 2012 start, allowing Stiller to finish up his work on the science-fiction/comedy Neighborhood Watch.