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Canadian smash STARBUCK is about to get a makeover by Steven Spielberg and DreamWorks Studios

Rachel Fox

by:
April 24th, 2012

The French-language comedy STARBUCK charmed audiences across Canada in 2011, so much so that it became the country's highest-grossing domestic release and won the Golden Reel Award at this year's Genies.

Director Ken Scott's film about David Wozniak (played by popular Quebecois actor Patrick Huard), a lovable loser-type who finds out that his donated sperm has unwittingly resulted in the fathering of 533 children, went on to gross approximately $3.5 million at the Canadian box office. According to The National Post, the fertile film looks like it could produce a whole lot more money now that DreamWorks Studios has optioned the film - with none other than Steven Spielberg attached to direct. Details and trailer after the jump.

According to STARBUCK's producer Andre Rouleau, the esteemed director was "enthralled" by the film after screening it last month. Wasting little time, the remake is now scheduled to begin shooting in New York this fall.

Of particular note is that the original creative team behind the French-language film, including writer-director Ken Scott, have been tasked with scripting the English-language remake.

In a statement released by DreamWorks' co-chair and CEO Stacey Snider, “We were completely charmed by the story in Starbuck and saw the potential for a commercial remake with universal appeal." Additionally, “We are excited to be working with the original filmmaking team of Ken Scott and Andre Rouleau and look forward to our collaboration on this film.”

Apparently casting has already begun, though details have not been made public.

I had the incredibly good fortune to screen (free ticket!) the film at its red carpet premier at TIFF in September of last year. Director Scott and star Huard were on hand to receive the thunderous applause from the enraptured festival crowd at Massey Hall. Immediately after the film was over, I distinctly recall telling my companion that STARBUCK would be remade, predicting either George Clooney or Jack Black in the role of David Wozniak.

Part of the reason the film is so endearing is due to the fantastic performance of Patrick Huard, who struck the perfect balance of sweet, smart, and sympathetic. Clooney is my first choice, especially considering his recent performance in THE DESCENDANTS. I could also definitely see Jack Black doing very well here. Though there are physical differences between the two, the role really hinges on protagonist Wozniak's genuinely kind nature, and both actors are astute at imbuing the kind of emotion and charm called for in the film. As a third choice I'd throw Matthew McConaughey's name into the hat, though he'd have to cool it on the intense abdominal workouts to be believable. If Tom Hanks was about fifteen years younger I'd have thrown his name into the mix, too.

Regardless, this is really exciting news for everyone involved in the original film, and ought to serve as a reminder of the level of talent present in the Canadian film industry.

Source The National Post via The Globe and Mail CBC

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