ContentFilm will produce an update of John Cheever’s classic short story “The Swimmer,” with Alec Baldwin taking the title role played by Burt Lancaster in Frank Perry’s 1968 film.
Content is in advanced negotiations for worldwide rights to the property with the Cheever estate and Sony Pictures Entertainment, holders of domestic and international rights, respectively.
Baldwin’s El Dorado Pictures and Vincent Farrell’s Iron Films will team with Content to co-produce the project.
Underrated at the time of its release but enhanced over the years by steadily expanded critical appreciation, Columbia’s moody original film cast Lancaster as a middle-age Connecticut man who swims home during a hot afternoon from one backyard pool to another, with each stop vividly evoking a different rush of memories.
While the remake will remain largely faithful to the original, the action may be shifted from Connecticut to Long Island and the Hamptons. No director is attached, though advanced talks are under way, with Content looking to start production in spring or summer.
” ‘The Swimmer’ is a fascinating film from a classic Hollywood era, and it will be an intriguing remake,” said Content chairman Edward R. Pressman and president John Schmidt in a statement. “Alec Baldwin is at the peak of his acting powers, and we applaud him for taking on this challenging role, a role that is not without risks.”
“I have always been a fan of not only the film, but also of Cheever’s short story,” Baldwin said. “I look forward to working with Ed and the people at ContentFilm once again.”
Baldwin previously collaborated with Pressman’s Gotham-based production shingle on Wayne Kramer’s “The Cooler,” in which he stars with William H. Macy and Maria Bello. That pic opens Nov. 19 in New York and Los Angeles via Lions Gate Films.
Content’s deal for rights to “Swimmer” is being assembled by head of business affairs Michael Roban. Andrew Woods of the Wylie Agency is representing the Cheever estate; Columbia Pictures senior exec VP of business affairs Bob Geary and senior VP of business affairs John Gibson are negotiating on behalf of the studio.