Paul Haggis is like that guy who did something nice for you that one time, and now thinks it would be totally cool if he moved into your basement and co-opted all your friends. If the film industry were The Houseguest, Paul Haggis would be its Sinbad. It was really sweet of him to be partially responsible for the best James Bond film of the last 30 years (and the indignant letter in which he publicly resigned from the Church of Scientology will probably go down as the finest thing he ever writes), but leave the man to his own devices and the next thing you know you're 8 hours deep In The Valley of Elah, a horrifying place where the only thing heavier than the metaphors is... no, there's nothing heavier than the metaphors.
So it's been hard for me to work up much enthusiasm about Honeymoon with Harry, a Paul Haggis script (adapted from a Bart Baker novel) that he's been slated to direct ever since Crash rear-ended the 2005 Academy Awards. But in the wake of a recent deadline.com report claiming that veteran journeyman Jonathan Demme might supplant Haggis as the film's director, this thing might yet prove worthwhile.
New Line recently hosted a reading of the dramedy (that I imagine to be tonally similar to the Haggis-penned The Last Kiss), during which Bradley Cooper assumed the part of the reformed alcoholic who loses the love of his life just days before they were to be wedded. The groom who wasn't goes on the honeymoon as scheduled, only to run into his fiance's father (Robert De Niro), who had aggressively disapproved of the union.
No deal has been reached yet, but Demme seems like he might be a great fit for the project. Although the brunt of his recent fiction projects have been saddled with laborious scripts he's been unable to penetrate (The Manchurian Candidate, The Truth About Charlie), 2008's Rachel Getting Married provided him a beautiful opportunity to infuse new characters with the electric verve and depth that's always been inherent to his documentary work (The Agronomist, Jimmy Carter Man From Plains, Stop Making Sense). Hopefully that recent reminder that he can spin magic from the right script has reminded Demme what the script looks like, and his interest in Honeymoon with Harry can be seen as a major vote of confidence for the project. And even though at this stage of his career De Niro seems sort of anathema to playing loose and raw, the project is that much more compelling if it means giving Jonathan Demme a chance to help the legendary actor class up the twilight of his career.
Or, you know, Honeymoon With Harry could be as painful as a Paul Haggis, Robert De Niro, Bradley Cooper collaboration sounds circa 2010.