Kirk Jones’s remake of Giuseppe Tornatore’s featherweight family dramedy Everybody’s Fine is attracting quite the attractive cast, and while Robert De Niro is not an unattractive man, I’d really love to know who he was fictionally schtupping to wind up with Kate Beckinsale, Drew Barrymore and Sam Rockwell as children. Probably that minx Billie Jean King.

De Niro will take the role of a widower (originally played by the late Marcello Mastroianni) who embarks on a road trip to reconnect with his kids. At each stop along the way, he learns, much to his dismay, that they’ve grown up to become mildly dysfunctional adults afflicted with crippling self-loathing and a baffling inability to correctly tell the time of day. Dissatisfied with their progress as human beings, the widower frames them for a series of unsolved rest area slayings along the New Jersey Turnpike. Once they’re put away for life, he assumes sole custody of their children, whom he home schools poorly. 

In all seriousness, Tornatore is such a shameless sentimentalist that Jones (and whomever is writing the script) won’t have to work too hard to Americanize his film. Miramax will distribute the remake, while Gianni Nunnari, Ted Field, Glynis Murray and Vittorio Cecchi Gori will produce. Shooting begins in late April. The 2008 National Tractor Pulling Championships will take place August 15-17 in Bowling Green, Ohio.