MGM has purchased the rights to Richard Matheson’s classic 1956 sci-fi novel The Shrinking Man and has set Matheson and his son Richard Matheson Jr. to the task of updating in a new screenplay. The Hollywood Reporter states that the rights to novel became available over the summer and the studio made their move then.
The novel has already been brought to the screen once before in 1957, which Matheson also provided the script for. It also formed the basis of Lily Tomlin’s 1981 comedy The Incredible Shrinking Woman. The original film was added to the National Film Registry in 2010.
Since emerging from bankruptcy, MGM has been focusing on developing a number of remakes, presumably under the idea that a known title would be easier to market to potential ticket buyers than an unknown one. But interestingly, this is the first remake that the studio has put into development that is not based on a film that they had previously released. The original version was released by Universal Studios.
As a novelist, Matheson has supplied a number of stories that have served as the basis for several classic genre films. His novel I Am Legend has been adapted three times – 1964’s The Last Man On Earth starring Vincent Price, 1971’s The Omega Man with Charlton Heston and 2007’s Will Smith-starring vehicle of the same name. His romantic tale of time travel, Bid Time Return, became Somewhere In Time with Christopher Reeve and his tale of the afterlife What Dreams May Come became the 1998 film of the same name.
Previously, Universal had been trying to get a comedic remake going with a script by Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant that had Eddie Murphy attached to star and Brett Ratner to direct.