EXCLUSIVE: Disney is moving full speed ahead with a re-imagining of Splash, the 1984 sleeper hit film that launched the stars of Tom Hanks and Daryl Hannah, along with Imagine partners Ron Howard and Brian Grazer, the latter of whom hatched the idea for the fish wish-fulfillment story that Howard directed. They’ve got an intriguing take: It’s being developed for Channing Tatum to take role that Hannah played, with Jillian Bell in the role that Hanks played. I’m told the pitch was hatched by Bell, who worked with Tatum in 22 Jump Street, most recently wrapped Office Christmas Party and next stars in Rock That Body.
They’ve hired Marja-Lewis Ryan to write the script. She most recently wrapped the Timur Bekmambetov-produced Liked, which she wrote and directed. The scribe also is writing for HBO and Tatum’s Free Association the college-set Unsupervised, which just hired a writers room and is looking good to go to a pilot. She also adapted the Sheryl Sandberg book Lean In for TriStar. Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture president Sean Bailey just put the finishing touches on the Splash deals Friday night.
Imagine’s Howard and Grazer will produce along with Free Association’s Tatum, Reid Carolin and Peter Kiernan. Imagine’s Anna Culp will be executive producer. There might be some inevitable groaning about Hollywood running out of fresh ideas, but the twist on this fish tale sounds like a smart way of breathing life into a movie that came out 32 years ago and has a story strong enough to be reintroduced to a new audience.
UTA reps Channing, Bell and the writer. Tatum, who has just started in the starring role of Steven Soderbergh’s Logan Lucky, is also Management 360; Bell is 3 Arts and Ryan is Kaplan/Perrone.