Spielberg Drops Harvey

No invisible rabbit for Steven

It's not a good year for remakes shepherded by Steven Spielberg: first his Oldboy project with Will Smith shuts down, and now he's walked away from a new version of Harvey.

Spielberg has been developing the fresh adaptation of Mary Chase's play, which was originally adapted into a beloved 1950 film starring James Stewart, for months now.

But he's had real trouble finding someone to take over the role. Tom Hanks was floated as the natural successor to the role of Elwood P Drood, but the actor didn't want to be involved despite his long friendship with the director.

With his first choice out of the picture, Spielberg turned to Robert Downey Jr., but despite suggesting changes to Jonathan Tropper's script, the Iron Man star didn't see eye to eye with Spielberg and also passed.

The biggest loser here might well be 20th Century Fox, which had been relishing the chance to work with the World's Most Famous Director™ and had even gone so far as to reserve soundstage space for an early 2010 shoot.

So what's next for Spielberg, who suddenly has more space on his schedule? While he's still overseeing post-production on Tintin: Secret Of The Unicorn, he has loads of projects in development and every script in Hollywood at his feet, he's yet to make a choice.

So yes, that muffled thumping sound you hear is Liam Neeson banging on his office door and demanding that he finally commits to making the Neeson-centric Abraham Lincoln biopic he's been threatening for years…