At long — long — last, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” is set to go into production in April, with Ben Stiller directing and starring. The James Thurber tale about a milquetoast with an extremely active fantasy life has inspired big-screen desires in Jim Carrey, Mike Myers, Sacha Baron Cohen, Owen Wilson, Kevin Anderson, Ron Howard and Steven Spielberg over the last decade or so as it’s been in and out of development hell. But Stiller’s the one who’ll be uttering Mitty’s trademark ta-pocketa-pocketa-pocketa. He’s in active preproduction on the feature that will shoot in New York for 20th Century Fox.
Stiller’s “Mitty” will be different from both the original short story and the Danny Kaye movie of 1947. This time, we’ll find Mitty with a sister who wants to get into a local production of Grease, and his mother in an assisted living facility. He’ll be seen working at Life magazine,where he catalogs photographs of other people’s feats and travels — until a crucial negative turns up missing, launching him on a real-life adventure.