If you asked me to cast a 'David vs. Goliath'-type biopic, I'd immediately think of Greg Kinnear to star. The actor has played a number of desperate dreamers, including his recent characters in Little Miss Sunshine and The Matador, and he's shown that he can go the emotional distance as a tormented, heartbroken soul (like with his Oscar-nominated role in As Good as It Gets). So Kinnear has been perfectly cast as Robert Kearns in Universal's Flash of Genius. Kearns was the real-life inventor who came up with the idea for the intermittent windshield wiper, a staple on automobiles since 1969. When American automakers went ahead and used the idea without paying him, despite his holding the patent for the invention, he sued them. But the legal battle went on for many years, finally ending in a $30 million settlement after going all the way to the Supreme Court.

Playing Kearns' wife, Phyllis, is Lauren Graham. Her character will likely be the typical, frustrated wife of an obsessed man we've seen in countless films of this kind (for the most recent, see Chloë Sevigny in Zodiac). Graham has similar duty, though less seriously, in Evan Almighty, which bows next week. Flash of Genius will be the first film directed by producer Marc Abraham (Children of Men), who also co-wrote the script with Phillip Railsback (The Stars Fell on Henrietta) and Scott Frank (Minority Report). It is based on a 1993 New Yorker article by John Seabrook, which Abraham bought the rights to eight years ago. The problem with waiting so long to get the film into production is that now Kearns has passed away and won't get to see how well Kinnear portrays him. Flash of Genius begins shooting next month in Toronto.
CATEGORIES Casting, Cinematical