Zach Galifianakis could be a fish (and the new Don Knotts)


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EXCLUSIVE: “The Incredible Mr. Limpet” has always seemed like one of those Hollywood remake projects that actually makes sense. The Don Knotts original, about an ordinary man who becomes a fish and fights the Nazis, is nearly 50 years old, isn’t that well remembered and was hardly a classic to begin with.

And with technology coming a long way in the past half-century, there are new means of updating the animated/live-action hybrid, which Warner Bros. began to do last year when it hired “Enchanted” director (and animation/live-action guru) Kevin Lima.


Now that update could be getting an even more modern sensibility. Sources say that producers are talking to Zach Galifianakis to take on the title role. Talks are still ongoing, but if it all works out, Galifianakis will be called upon to bring his brand of weirdo comedy to a character on which Knotts brushed his trademark paint of wide-eyed wacko: a man who, after transforming into a fish, leaves his old life behind to disrupt U-boat maneuvers on the high seas (and finds true love in the process).

(There had been early talk that Johnny Depp may take on the part, but that seems to be motivated more by the actor’s involvement in a different spectacle-driven nautical film; he’s not likely to star in this one.)

Galifianakis has never played a leading man in a big studio movie, but he’s increasingly edging into the frame -- notably in another upcoming Warners movie, a comedy called “Due Date,” in which he shares lead billing with Robert Downey Jr.

“Limpet” could be a good segue for the comedian-actor, since he won’t be called to carry the film (the technology will take care of that). But he should be able give it enough of a hipster sensibility that it could play to more than just families, especially if Galifianakis really turns on his off-kilter slack-jaw thing. Well, within limits. It might be just a little too weird if a fish wore a BabyBjörn.

-- Steven Zeitchik

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