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Galifianakis Could Lead Dunces
Long-gestating project rises again

22 May 2012  |  Written by James White  |  Source: Vulture

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Galifianakis Could Lead Dunces

The gods taketh away, but they also giveth… On the day that word broke that Disney has decided to pull the brakes on long-development Snow White riff Order Of The Seven comes news that another, even older film may finally be gaining some momentum. Which one? Try the adaptation of John Kennedy Toole’s A Confederacy Of Dunces, which, according to the team at Vulture, now has Zach Galifianakis attached to star and Muppets director James Bobin in negotiations to wield the megaphone.

Cedar Rapids' writer Phil Johnston is attached to write the script for this latest version, which Paramount is looking to put together.

If, and this is a big if, given the title’s history (more on that below) Galifianakis does end up starring, he’ll play Ignatius J Reilly, an educated but lazy 30-year-old who is forced to stop living with his mother in 1960s New Orleans and get a proper job. That’s not as easy as it sounds, especially given all the weirdoes he meets along the way. But that’s nothing compared to the Sisyphean task that making a movie of the film has become.

Kennedy’s book was published in 1980, 11 years after the author’s suicide, and posthumously won him the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Harold Ramis was the first to attempt an adaptation in 1982, planning a version starring John Belushi and Richard Pryor, but Belushi died before it could go ahead. The mortality curse would continue through John Candy and Chris Farley, who both passed away before they could make it happen.

John Waters flirted with the idea, pushing Pink Flamingos’ Divine as a possible Ignatius. John Goodman and Stephen Fry have both been loosely attached to the role in the years since then, with Steven Soderbergh attempting it in 1996, only for that to fall into chaos with lawsuits and arguments.

In 2002, David Gordon Green signed on to direct, but perhaps the closest attempt came in 2005 when Will Ferrell was set to star. That one fell apart for numerous reasons, most notably location issues including Hurricane Katrina and the head of the Louisiana Film Commission being murdered. 

So you’ll pardon us if we hold off on getting too excited just yet. We’ve been here before. So we’ll stay hopeful. Just not too hopeful.

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