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A Confederacy of Dunces

Peter T Chattaway

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Exclusive: Dunces Finds Its Ignatius in Galifianakis

John Kennedy Toole’s posthumously Pulitzer Prize–winning novel may finally be taking its protagonist’s advice: Vulture hears exclusively that Flight of the Conchords co-creator and The Muppets director James Bobin is in negotiations to at long last bring the picaresque paean to New Orleans to the big screen via producer Scott Rudin and Paramount Pictures. We hear the script will be fashioned by Cedar Rapids screenwriter Phil Johnston (who also co-wrote Alexander Payne’s forthcoming Nebraska) and that, perhaps best of all, the seemingly perfectly matched Zach Galifianakis is attached to the project to star as Reilly.

Now, of course, let's don’t get too excited, for this year actually marks the 30th anniversary of Harold Ramis’s 1982 plan to adapt the book, an effort which has been, well, kind of cursed: Just a few days before Ramis was scheduled to have his intended Reilly, John Belushi, meet with executives at Universal Pictures, the comic fatally overdosed at the Chateau Marmont.

In the intervening decades, more potential Reillys would predecease the project, including John Candy (1994) and Chris Farley (1997). Even just five years ago, Will Ferrell, Galifianakis’s current co-star in The Candidate, was set to make the film with a script co-written by Steven Soderbergh, but, alas, we know how that turned out: As Ignatius once said best himself, “The gods of chaos, lunacy, and bad taste gained ascendancy.”

Vulture, New York, May 22

Edited by Peter T Chattaway

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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America's most overrated novel teetering on the edge of becoming an overrated movie?

There is this difference between the growth of some human beings and that of others: in the one case it is a continuous dying, in the other a continuous resurrection. (George MacDonald, The Princess and Curdie)

Isn't narrative structure enough of an ideology for art? (Greg Wright)

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America's most overrated novel teetering on the edge of becoming an overrated movie?

Well, I would like to hear your opinion of the... novel. A good discussion here would be fun. But frankly: good casting despite the Ignatius reference. Confession: I liked Cedar Rapids.


"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

(Hans Werner Dannowski)

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