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Details On The Lost Newman/Redford Film
Bill Bryson's Walk In The Woods, anyone?

12 October 2012  |  Written by Ali Plumb  |  Source: Exclusive / SoundCloud

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As eagle-eared Empire Podcast listeners may already know, Paul Newman and Robert Redford were planning on following up Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid and The Sting with an adaptation of Bill Bryson's A Walk In The Woods, with the directors of Little Miss Sunshine and Ruby Sparks, Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, the mooted megaphone wielders.

This "What might have been..." story comes from Faris and Dayton themselves, who revealed on this week's Empire Podcast that they were approached with the project just after Little Miss Sunshine premiered at Sundance in January 2006.

In other words, file this news story in the "Aw, shucks" folder alongside human-dinosaur hybrids in Jurassic Park IV and facehuggers in Prometheus, but not until you've heard all the details in the podcast below (the revelant moment starts at 47.35).

"We did get one offer just after Sundance that was pretty interesting that we've never really talked about - I don't even know whether we should talk about it..." Faris begins.

"It was an opportunity to do a movie with Robert Redford and Paul Newman, so we actually met with Robert Redford at Sundance after our film had premiered there. We played around with that for a little while, and that was pretty shocking - one where we called our parents immediately and said, 'Guess what?'"

Was it going to be another Butch And Sundance, a buddy comedy type thing?

"Well, that's what we wanted, but Robert maybe for various different reasons didn't see it that way. And to work with an actor who's also a director and a producer is a tricky thing... It became clear that we didn't want to make the same movie so we parted ways, but it was exciting thinking about it. It could have been a really fun film, actually."

"It was based on a book called A Walk In The Woods by Bill Bryson, about these two middle-aged guys who hike the Appalachian Trail, but we thought they should actually cheat and not walk the whole Appalachian Trail and take a taxi or something. It's too hard to actually do it, so part of what they pull off would be pretending to walk it. Redford wasn't into [that idea]."

"Redford's in amazing shape, but the idea of them actually walking that distance..." the pair conclude. "And Newman was, like, 80..."

Paul Newman died in September 2008 aged 83, so if A Walk In The Woods had worked out, it would have been his last live-action role, with his work on Cars, Dale and The Meerkat all voice gigs.

A Walk In The Woods is one of Bill Bryson's most-loved books, a memoir of Bryson's attempt to walk the Appalachian Trail with his friend "Stephen Katz" (a pseudonym for Matthew Angerer) - but the thing is, Katz is a rather rotund gentleman, so would have been a wonder to get Newman in the appropriate shape considering his health.

The A Walk In The Woods film is still being worked on in a different form, with Redford continuing to oversee proceedings and Barry Levinson earmarked for the director's chair. Novelist Richard Russo has mentioned that he is currently working on a script.

But as this is a "Aw, shucks" news story, let's have your thoughts - would you like to have seen Dayton and Faris direct Butch and Sundance in A Walk In The Woods, their final bow? Let us know in the comment box below.

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Your Comments

would've been wonderful...
as it's a nice book and anyone who's ever seen Newman and Redford together on screen would have to agree that with a great script and the right direction it woulda made a great little movie. you don't get actors like them anymore - sounds like a cliche but then of course a cliche's a cliche because it's pretty much the truth... More

Posted by leroythemasochist at 19:36 on 14 October 2012 | Report This Post
Christmas gifts from here Christmas gifts from here Christmas gifts from here More

Posted by kekelin03 at 10:01 on 13 October 2012 | Report This Post

Yeah, I can see how that would have worked, with the right dialogue, two old guys heading off into the wilderness, bickering, telling jokes... a couple of small adventures on the way... They would have carried it off. If only, huh? More

Posted by Mr Notino at 15:21 on 12 October 2012 | Report This Post

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