I don’t know what excites me less: a new Barry Levinson movie or an adaptation of a book about two middle-aged men hiking the Appalachian Trail. But when you combine the two…, eh, I still get nothin’.
Once upon a time, Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods was being developed as a two-hander reunion for Robert Redford and Paul Newman, but since the latter has essentially retired, I guess that means Morgan Freeman gets to do more late-in-life male bonding. It bears clarifying that Freeman hasn’t been cast yet, but why deny the inevitable?
A lot of people read and loved the book, so I’m probably due a shitload of indignant emails bemoaning my dismissive tone. But when’s the last time Levinson made a film that wasn’t completely useless (and let’s pretend What Just Happened? doesn’t exist until I see it)? Bandits? Look, I love Diner, Tin Men and The Natural as much as any enlightened cineaste, but those movies are all over twenty years old; aside from making me feel old, that’s not much of an endorsement of Levinson’s longevity (even though he did give us Homicide: Life on the Streets).
Getting Levinson attached suggests that A Walk in the Woods is all but greenlit; still, Redford does have that untitled Jackie Robinson/Branch Rickey project kicking around. Redford would produce and co-star as Rickey, while Thomas “Hayward” Carter would direct. Carter hasn’t made anything close to the level of Diner, but I’d much rather see that story brought to the big screen than Get Busy Hikin’ or Get Busy Dyin’.