Shirley MacLaine Up For Walter Mitty

In talks to be Ben Stiller's mother

Long-in-development comedy remake The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty is adding some classic and classy acting talent to its line-up, with Shirley MacLaine in talks to play Ben Stiller’s mother in the film.

Stiller will direct as well as starring as the main character, a man given to flights of fantasy as a way to escape his mundane life. He agreed to jump aboard thanks to a new script from Steve Conrad, which finally appears to have cracked the Mitty project from the bowels of development hell.

Through the years, the likes of Jim Carrey, Ron Howard, Gore Verbinski, Owen Wilson and Sacha Baron Cohen have all been attached either as director or star, but for one reason or another – usually script issues– the project has never quite managed to shuffle on screen. It remains to be seen whether Conrad has held on to the most recent plot idea, which sees Mitty as a weak-willed big box store worker bee looking for his chance to be something more.

MacLaine, of course, might still be best known for her work in such films as The Apartment, Gambit and Irma La Douce, but she’s been working steadily across the decades, and last cropped up in 2010’s ensemble pic Valentine’s Day. Assuming it gets a release over here, she’ll next be seen in Richard Linklater’s offbeat comedy Bernie.

Walter Mitty, meanwhile, is scheduled to start shooting in April.