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Zachary Levi leading live-action Harold and the Purple Crayon movie; unclear if he's playing a 4-year-old

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Feb 1, 2021, 8:54 PM EST (Updated)

Zachary Levi is tapped to star in the Sony Pictures live-action version of the 1955 classic, Harold and the Purple Crayon.

According to The Hollywood Reporter and confirmed by SYFY WIRE, writers David Guion and Michael Handelmann (Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, Dinner for Schmuck’s) are also on board to write the screenplay of the popular Crockett Johnson book, where a 4-year-old boy has a purple crayon that makes everything he draws come to life. Producer John Davis (Jungle Cruise, Dolemite Is My Name) is also behind the production.

It’s not clear what role Levi will play in the Sony Pictures adaptation, as he’s at least a couple of years older than the protagonist, Harold. Levi has played a kid in an adult body before, however (see: Shazam!), so maybe it’s not out of the realm of possibility. And Harold would seem to be the only starring character from the original source material, though Johnson wrote five other books in the series as well. Or, in the realm of complete speculation, perhaps Levi is taking on the role of the purple crayon itself, transforming Harold’s magical drawing instrument into some live-action version of Microsoft’s discontinued Clippy.

SYFY WIRE has reached out to Sony Pictures for clarification on Levi’s role in the production.  

This adaptation isn’t the first effort to bring Harold and the Purple Crayon to the big screen. Creators from Spike Jonze, to Will Smith, to Steven Spielberg have tried and failed to get a Purple Crayon project off the ground. Even Sony Pictures Animation had a CG animated version in the works in recent years. The Harold stories did get a small-screen, Sharon Stone-narrated adaptation from HBO in 2002.

This latest Harold and The Purple Crayon project is still in its early stages of development, so no news on a production timetable.