Spielberg Sees ‘Harvey’ As Next Directing Project

The $64,000 question has been answered. Steven Spielberg will make his next directing effort with a contemporary adaptation of Harvey, the play that the James Stewart classic film was based upon. The movie will be co-financed by 20th Century Fox and DreamWorks Studios.

Fox Chairmen Jim Gianopulos and Tom Rothman and DreamWorks partners Stacey Snider and Spielberg announced the project — which marks one of the first new initiatives from the reconstituted DreamWorks — on Sunday.

Casting and preproduction will gear up immediately with an eye to shoot at the start of 2010, the trades report. Variety notes that Spielberg may look to Tom Hanks and Will Smith as possible stars.

Jonathan Tropper, a novelist, will write his first screenplay, creating a contemporary adaptation of Mary Chase’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play about a man and his invisible, giant rabbit.

The first big-screen adaptation in 1950 was a Universal film.

Spielberg and Don Gregory will produce.

Distribution rights are yet to be determined. DreamWorks will finance 50% of the production through its new funding relationship with Reliance and distribute either domestically or internationally through its arrangement with Disney.

As The Wrap notes, the announcement also signals that DreamWorks is close to finalizing some of the funding that it has been awaiting from a consortium of U.S. banks and the Indian media conglomerate, Reliance ADA Group.

An executive close to the deal told TW the funding would be done “within days.”

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