Classic Kaye comedy on fast track

Paramount has tapped Mark Waters to helm its remake of “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” produced by the father-son team of Samuel Goldwyn Jr. and John Goldwyn.

Waters, who has upped his profile with the tweener successes “Freaky Friday” and “Mean Girls,” will direct from a script by Richard LaGravanese. The helmer’s most recent project was DreamWorks’ “If Only It Were True,” with Reese Witherspoon and Mark Ruffalo in the story of a man who falls in love with the spirit of a woman whose apartment he inhabits.

Samuel Goldwyn has been trying for a decade to mount a remake of 1947′s “Walter Mitty,” a comedy in which Danny Kaye played a timid man who daydreamed of being a swashbuckling hero. Original was based on a short story by humorist James Thurber.

The elder Goldwyn had attempted to develop the project at New Line before moving it over to Paramount several years ago when his son John was still president of the studio, with Jim Carrey attached to star and Steven Spielberg directing. Earlier, Ron Howard and Chuck Russell had come aboard to direct before departing; drafts have been developed by scribes including Peter Tolan, Chuck Russell and the team of Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel.

John Goldwyn segued to an exclusive production deal with Par in late 2003. He’s also developing a sequel to “The Italian Job” and a remake of “Le Convoyeur” with shingle Penn Station; he is partnered with Lorne Michaels on “Senior Week,” “Curly Oxide and Vic Thrill,” “Sebastian Knight” and “Mall Cops.”

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