From A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood to Adaptation, there are a million ways to introduce a new protagonist into what might, in other hands, be a straightforward narrative. But we have to admit, we really had to take a minute to consider the options when we saw that The Hollywood Reporter had announced Zachary Levi as the star of Sony’s upcoming live-action Harold and the Purple Crayon movie, currently in development at the studio. Because when we think about author Crockett Johnson’s beloved children’s book series, we think of Harold, who is a 4-year-old boy, and, well, his magical purple crayon.
For now, only screenwriters David Guion and Michael Handelman, the duo behind films like Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb and Dinner for Schmucks, know for certain who or what Levi will portray. As THR points out, Spike Jonze, Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment, and Will Smith’s Overbook have all considered putting pen to paper to adapt Harold in the past, while Sony Pictures Animation previously worked on an animated adaptation. All of which is to say: Is Zachary Levi … the crayon? Is he an adult Harold who rediscovers his fanatical art implement 40 years on? Is he the titular preschooler himself?