Stiller Producing ‘The Big Year’ with Black, Hoffman, Owen
Call this more than a rumor but less than an announcement, but it appears that Marley & Me director David Frankel is set to direct a new movie called The Big Year. Based on the book of the same name, the story centers around three bird watchers duke it out to spot and record the highest number of species in Alaska during 1998 - the year El Nino brought an unprecedented number of species to North America.
Tapped to star as the trio are Owen Wilson, Jack Black, and Dustin Hoffman. The film is being produced by Deuce Three Productions and Red Hour Films, with Ben Stiller one of the producers. Screenplay is by Howard Franklin, based on Mark Obmascik’s book.
According to our source, here’s the actor/character breakdown:
- Dustin Hoffman as Al Levinton
- Owen Wilson as Sandy Komito
- Jack Black as Greg Miller
You can probably guess the kind of characters these guys are playing, but for more detail we look to the Magnificent Frigatebird Blog that posted a character study on the book. Here’s their description and my comments.
“Levantin was a business executive recently retired after a 40-year career. As Obmascik describes him, “He was sixty-six years old, but often accused of lying about his age. With an outdoorsy pink in his cheeks, slate-blue eyes, and shoulders that still packed some muscle, he looked fifty. He acted thirty. He had charisma.” Though the age is off, this seems like Owen’s role. It would be a return to the suave Owen we haven’t seen much since Wedding Crashers.
“I figure Sandy Komito was about 66 years old during The Big Year. He had worked as a salesman, and was known in the birding community as “the loud wisecracker from New Jersey.” Honestly, this sounds a lot more like Hoffman than Wilson. It’s true that Wilson has been known to wisecrack in his movies, sometimes loudly (see: Shanghai Noon, Night at the Museum). But this sure sounds like Mr. Bernie Focker himself.
“Greg Miller was working systems for a nuclear power plant, getting ready for Y2K. He was recently divorced, overweight, and sad. ‘Forty years old and alone and no children-he hadn’t pictured his life this way.’” If you don’t know which actor is playing this role then you shouldn’t be reading this blog.
We’ll see if the film actually gets made. I for one am looking forward to the developments as it presents our Frat Pack actors in age-appropriate material that still allows for the male-bonding we’re accustomed to. And if this film really does happen there’s not a doubt in my mind that Stiller will find a place for himself for a little cameo.