Exclusive: Shawn Levy talks casting for Starman remake
Back in April, it was announced that Columbia Pictures was developing a remake of the classic film Starman to be produced and directed by Shawn Levy (Night at the Museum, Real Steel). Now that he’s promoting the terrific (and wildly ’80s-centric) Netflix sci-fi series Stranger Things, we had a chance to talk 1-on-1 with Levy about how his work producing and helming episodes of that very John Carpenter-esque series will influence his Starman remake.
“I have to say, I was really inspired by this show,” Levy told us. “I haven’t done television in a long time, the movies have kept me really busy. I hadn’t done this genre or this tone. It came to me really organically and it’s definitely something I want to keep doing and ‘Starman’ is a very rich opportunity to do that.”
When we inquired if he had any ideas for a leading man to fill Jeff Bridges’ shoes as the title character Levy gave us a helpful clue…
“I do, but they would kill me at Sony if I mentioned it,” Levy insisted. “I’ll just very enigmatically say that some of my top ideas are people I’ve worked with before either as a director or a producer.”
To help narrow that down for you, here are some potential Starman leads from Levy’s producer/director filmography, in order of likelihood:
-Hugh Jackman (Real Steel)
-Mark Ruffalo (Date Night)
-Adam Driver (This is Where I Leave You)
-Miles Teller (The Spectacular Now)
-Anthony Mackie (Real Steel)
-Bradley Cooper (The Rocker)
-Steve Carrell (Date Night, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day)
-Mark Wahlberg (Date Night)
-Corey Stoll (This is Where I Leave You)
-Jeremy Renner (Arrival)
-Rami Malek (Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb)
-Dan Stevens (Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb)
-James Franco (Date Night, Why Him?)
-Wyatt Russell (Table 19)
-Ben Stiller (Night at the Museum trilogy, The Watch)
-Owen Wilson (The Internship, Night at the Museum trilogy)
-Jason Bateman (This is Where I Leave You)
-Vince Vaughn (The Internship, The Watch)
That’s a lot of names to choose from, but some very good candidates there for sure. The one thing we do know is Levy definitely has a lot of respect for the original ’84 film, despite it being something of an anomaly in John Carpenter’s otherwise horror-heavy filmography. When fans see Stranger Things, they will also understand why Levy is a solid choice to remake the film.
“To me, I think it’s brilliant,” Levy insisted. “It was an Oscar nomination for Jeff Bridges, it’s thick with ideas and incredibly rich with romantic feelings, and those are the things I’m going to carry over into this updated version. I don’t know why it’s kind of separate in the canon of Carpenter, but I think it’s magnificent. The premise is filled with ideas that are interesting to revisit in a different way in 2016. It fits less neatly in his genre legacy, but I think it’s absolutely one of his finest films. I am going to try to be faithful to the romantic spine to the story but also the fish-out-of-water humor which is genuinely charming and winning in a way that Carpenter and Bridges filmed it.”
Released in 1984, Starman starred Jeff Bridges as an innocent alien from a distant planet who learns what it means to be a man in love. When his spacecraft is shot down over Wisconsin, Starman (Bridges) arrives at the remote cabin of a distraught young widow, Jenny Hayden (Karen Allen), and clones the form of her dead husband. The alien convinces Jenny to drive him to Arizona, explaining that if he isn’t picked up by his mothership in three days, he’ll die.
The original film was written by Stand By Me scribes Bruce A. Evans and Raynold Gideon, and directed by cult filmmaker John Carpenter between his other alien-themed films The Thing and They Live. Bridges was nominated for the Best Actor in a Leading Role Oscar for his role in the film.
The Starman remake will be scripted by Arash Amel (Grace of Monaco). Michael Douglas, who produced the original film, will return to produce the remake.
Are you looking forward to a Starman remake? Which former Shawn Levy star should take the lead role? Let us know in the comments below!