Stiller Producing ‘The Big Year’ with Black, Hoffman, Owen

Monday, January 25, 2010
By Kevin Crossman
Owen Wilson

Owen Wilson

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.

Al Levinton
“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.

Sandy Komito
“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
“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.

tipster: iluvtexas on the Wilson’s board

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10 Responses to “Stiller Producing ‘The Big Year’ with Black, Hoffman, Owen”

  1. jon

    this is exciting, hope it pans out! that little clip of Black/Owen from that show got me very interested in seeing them really work together

    #1194
  2. Rick

    This is the one Steve Carell was originally going to be in. Damn

    #1195
  3. Bonnie

    “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.”

    This is EXACTLY how I feel! I am so excited for this project and hope it happens.

    And is it just me or are all of these movie announcements for Owen in recent months giving the impression that Hollywood was told to give him some space for awhile but then were given the green light and now they have come calling? I also hope this means Owen will return to the interview circuit. I’ve come to realize how much I really miss his interviews.

    Now….if only him and Vince would do another movie together all would be right in the world again ;-)

    ~Bonnie

    #1198
  4. sandra

    OH my~It’s really a good news that Jack and Owen will have a new funny movie.

    #1206
  5. Allie

    Call this one more RUMOR than fact.

    This semi-”announcement” has been around since 2005 (when the book’s rights were purchased for a movie.) Someone on an Owen Wilson fan site recently picked it up from an outdated movie site and now it is being reported as fact.

    According to Variety, David Frankel is directing “Septimus Heap: Magyk” next, not this.

    Owen Wilson, meanwhile, starts filming on “Hall Pass” (another movie floating around since 2005) in a couple of weeks in Atlanta.

    As far as movie announcements for Owen are concerned, his recent projects (”NatM2″, “Meet the Fockers Sequel”, “Hall Pass”, “Cars 2″, even “The Big Year” - if it comes to be) have been in the works for YEARS (well before his August 2007 incident). Hollywood has not just recently “come calling” for him to do them because he’s well-enough to deal with them now. (That’s a pretty “Pollyanna” way of viewing Hollywood, BTW. It’s called show-BUSINESS, not show love, kindness and pretty ponies.)

    Owen was FORCED to give himself some space (one of the primary rules after a scandal is to lie low - see Tiger Woods for the most recent example). However, if he wants to maintain his current quote, he certainly needs to churn out product and keep working.

    I wouldn’t hold your breath for any in-depth profiles of him or any “real” interviews with him, though. Word is that his demons still have a pretty firm grasp on him and his “people” need to protect him by CLOSELY monitoring both his public image (staged photo-ops only) and anything he says that could be made public.

    You’ll never see interviews like his 2005 “Playboy” or “Rolling Stone” interviews or his “Fade In” or “Blender” interviews from 2006 again until and unless he decides to come clean with his fans about his issues.

    So again, that means probably never.

    #1315
  6. Kevin Crossman

    Well, yes… that’s why we did tag it as “rumor.”

    Thanks for the Owen perspective. :-)

    #1316
  7. [...] in “wild and crazy” mode I could see him working for this film. He certainly fits the character profile as an older retired business man described as “outdoorsy pink in his cheeks, slate-blue [...]

    #1727
  8. Edward Komito

    I can promise you, dad looks nothing like Owen Wilson. :)

    #1771
  9. Misses

    FYI this is no rumour. The film is in production now as we speak. Storyline, actors and characters are all correct as written above. The film should be out in in a year or so. I look forward to it.

    #2619
  10. Kevin Crossman

    Well, it was a rumor when we first posted this in January…

    #2622

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