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Joaquin Phoenix, Gus van Sant to tackle biopic of cartoonist John Callahan

Joaquin Phoenix is attached to star in ‘Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot.’ — AFP pic
Joaquin Phoenix is attached to star in ‘Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot.’ — AFP pic

LOS ANGELES, Nov 30 — Gus van Sant’s long-brewing biopic of quadriplegic cartoonist John Callahan is coming back to life.

Joaquin Phoenix is attached to star in Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot, an adaptation of Callahan’s memoir. Steve Golin is producing via Anonymous Content as is Iconoclast Films.

Callahan became an alcoholic at the age of 12, a drug abuser in his mid-teens, and at 21, a quadriplegic after being in a car accident after a day of drinking. He managed to rebuild his life to become an envelope-pushing cartoonist, learning to use both hands to draw, for example, and also reconciling with members of his family.

Robin Williams was a fan — the comedian provided the introduction to Callahan’s book Will the Real John Callahan Please Stand Up? — and in the late 1990s tried to adapt Don’t Worry. Williams was attached to star and produce the project that was for several years set up at Columbia.

Van Sant, Callahan’s fellow Portlander, was attached to direct it in the early 2000s before the project fell by the wayside. Callahan died in 2010.

If the project comes together smoothly, it will mark van Sant and Phoenix’s first reunion since Phoenix’s breakout in 1995’s To Die For.

Phoenix and van Sant are repped by WME. — The Hollywood Reporter/Bloomberg

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