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Zach Galifianakis could be a fish (and the new Don Knotts)

June 14, 2010 |  1:45 pm


EXCLUSIVE: "The Incredible Mr. Limpet" has always seemed like one of those Hollywood remake projects that actually makes sense. The Don Knotts original, about an ordinary man who becomes a fish and fights the Nazis, is nearly 50 years old, isn't that well remembered and was hardly a classic to begin with.

And with technology coming a long way in the past half-century, there are new means of updating the animated/live-action hybrid, which Warner Bros. began to do last year when it hired "Enchanted" director (and animation/live-action guru) Kevin Lima.

Now that update could be getting an even more modern sensibility. Sources say that producers are talking to Zach Galifianakis to take on the title role. Talks are still ongoing, but if it all works out, Galifianakis will be called upon to bring his brand of weirdo comedy to a character on which Knotts brushed his trademark paint of wide-eyed wacko: a man who, after transforming into a fish, leaves his old life behind to disrupt U-boat maneuvers on the high seas (and finds true love in the process).

(There had been early talk that Johnny Depp may take on the part, but that seems to be motivated more by the actor's involvement in a different spectacle-driven nautical film; he's not likely to star in this one.)

Galifianakis has never played a leading man in a big studio movie, but he's increasingly edging into the frame -- notably in another upcoming Warners movie, a comedy called "Due Date," in which he shares lead billing with Robert Downey Jr.

"Limpet" could be a good segue for the comedian-actor, since he won't be called to carry the film (the technology will take care of that). But he should be able give it enough of a hipster sensibility that it could play to more than just families, especially if Galifianakis really turns on his off-kilter slack-jaw thing. Well, within limits. It might be just a little too weird if a fish wore a BabyBjörn.

-- Steven Zeitchik


Photo: Don Knotts in 'The Incredible Mr. Limpet.' Credit: Warner Bros.

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Comments () | Archives (5)

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I loved the original. I would like to see another version as well. But do young viewers remember what a U-Boat was or why we fought WWII? That war was 75 years ago and hardly relates to the war we are in now. Why is Hollywood so interested in films that have us in a war that took 400,000 American service men's lives in less than 4 years but will not do a film on the two wars we are in now that have lasted longer but taken only 6000 America service members?
The Nazis are old news, but the film industry still thinks we are fighting Germany and Japan.

You have got to be kidding ? He will probably not share top billing with Robert Downey Jr. It is Robert Downey Jr's movie. Zach is a secondary actor. At 41 years old, Zach has no real acting skills at all. He is comedian picked up in a comedy workshop by Todd Phillips.
True I think he is funny in somethings, but I don't know if I would ever call him a lead actor in anything. He might find a truly off the wall lead role but as a 100% lead on his own. In my opinion, unless someone is there for him to work off of - he will not go very far.
In The Hangover as well as in Due Date he has phenomenal lead actors to set up the scenes for him to play off of. Robert Downey Jr is a comedic genius on his own, so Zach would have no problem working with what Robert throws at him. As a lead himself, Zach would have to go with himself, so we will have to wait and see. This isn't stand-up comedy, it is the movies.

Paul, I doubt they'll set it during World War 2. It'll most likely be updated. And Shelle, Galifiankakis was a working actor long before he was a comedian - and yes, he will share top billing on "Due Date". I've seen the posters.

Wow. This remake has been tossed around for a long time. I saw an article in an FX magazine probably 10 years ago that showed tests with Jim Carrey as the fish.

I don't really like the idea of Galifianakis doing the role. He doesn't seem to fit. It has been one of my favorite movies for years. We need someone with a more Don Knotts feel.

Meh. I don't know.


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