Behold a brand new series of articles here at Awards Radar! With the “Make This Movie” series, we’ll be profiling material that we’d love to see become a film. Sometimes, it will be a book or a stage show that deserves the cinematic treatment. Other times, we’ll look at screenplays that are stuck in development hell. Basically, if it’s not yet a movie, it’s eligible. Today, we kick it off with a book that become a highly regarded script, but has yet to become a flick. So, read on and find out why we want Hollywood to Make This Movie!
Full disclosure: this was actually a series I had intended to launch right when Awards Radar came into existence, a little over a year and a half ago. A different title was the plan, and truth be told, it will probably be the next installment that I do, but today, I’m using some of my recent personal issues as a way to be in the mind space of the work. You’ll see what I mean below…
So, what’s the inaugural Make This Movie candidate? Well, it’s Honeymoon with Harry. The Bart Baker novel is a mix of comedy and drama, following a ladies man who reformed his ways when he met the love of his life, only to have her tragically die right before their wedding. Distraught and borderline suicidal, he goes on what would have been their honeymoon, only to run into his would-be father in law, who hates his guts.
I’d enjoyed this book (and its sequel, more on that below) years ago, and had been hoping for the movie version for some time. Obviously, nothing came of it, as of yet, but recently, it popped into my mind. As someone who has, quite recently, gone through a bout of devastating heartbreak, I thought back to the novel. If someone could harness what made it compelling, while not forgetting to make it entertaining, something potentially special could be found…
To expand a bit, this is the Amazon description of the novel:
SOON TO BE A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE FROM NEW LINE/WARNER BROS. The emotional and hilarious story of hard-living Todd Cartwright who falls in love with Tammy Everett, a woman who literally saves Todd from himself. But Tammy’s suspicious, overly-protective father, Harry, does everything he can to crush the relationship. Todd is not about to give up the greatest thing that’s ever happened to him and goes to war with Harry. But when the unthinkable happens, the men dive into a physical and emotionally tailspin that threatens to consume them both. Todd decides to go on the honeymoon alone and return to his destructive ways only to find Harry at the airport with Tami’s ashes which Harry intends to spread on the island. Reluctantly, these two wounded souls go on the honeymoon – both for very different reasons – where the enormous anguish consuming them causes them to react in very different and unexpected ways. Though these two men hate each other, each is the only person who can understand the loss that the other has suffered. Todd and Harry are forced to recognize that they have one thing in common: they loved the same women. And that bond causes them both to begrudgingly help the other overcome the gaping loss that has swallowed them and move on with their lives.
For comparison’s sake, IMDb thins the synopsis of the film adaptation down to just this:
When a man’s fiancée dies two days before their wedding, he decides to take the honeymoon with his would-be father-in-law.
Essentially, it seems like Hollywood is angling to make this more of a comedy than a dramedy. You can see that in how the script has changed hands, initially being a Paul Haggis-penned project, one he would have directed, with Vince Vaughn and Jack Nicholson in the main roles. Then, it was Jonathan Demme, who sought to make it with Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro. That appears to be the closest it got to being made. Since then, Jenny Lumet took a stab at the screenplay, while the most recent draft appears to be by Dan Fogelman, one that Nick Cassavetes would helm. While there’s humor to be found, it’s the mix that makes it work.
Oddly, throughout this, they’ve seemingly leaned hard into Harry’s tough-guy nature, though his abrasiveness comes in a whiny manner as well. To that end, someone like Alan Arkin might actually be even better for the role. As for Todd, he needs to have charm, but also be a bit of a scumbag. There’s a world in which Ryan Reynolds would ace this part. Maybe this could continue his partnership with Shawn Levy if they look to do something smaller together after a third Deadpool? Just a thought.
There’s even a sequel, called A Second Honeymoon with Harry that should further entice Hollywood. If it works, you have a follow-up ready to go. That won’t be the focus of a lot of projects mentioned here, but the fact that this one has a solid second story already here only helps the cause. Mostly, it’s a case of interesting characters in a sad yet compelling situation that appeals. Maybe I’m just a depressed mope these days, but I see this as something that could really connect.
At the same time, Honeymoon with Harry is the sort of mid-level drama or dramedy that doesn’t get made as often anymore, so it could be up to a streamer to see the appeal. Time will tell if it ever gets out of development hell, but if you ask me? You know what I’m going to say…Make This Movie!
Would you want to see Honeymoon with Harry? Let us know and stay tuned for another installment of Make This Movie soon!