These days any time a studio agrees to return an old hit to its producers instead of rebooting it is rare indeed. So my longtime pal Jay Weston is celebrating tonight because Disney’s Bob Iger, Rich Ross, and others at the studio have given back to him the romantic comedy Bell, Book & Candle. Originally a successful Broadway play by John Van Druten about witches and warlocks in NYC, it became a fun Columbia picture starring Jimmy Stewart and Kim Novak and Jack Lemmon. Weston tells me he spent more than 12 “frustrating” years in development with the pic when it was being developed at the old Miramax with the Weinstein brothers. “We started in the mid-1990s with a screenplay by John Patrick Shanley, then went on to eight other scripts by celebrated writers, never being able to satisfy the ever-changing desires of the Miramax execs,” said Weston. “Now I have joined with my long-time friend and associate, Dino Conte, in preparing a new and contemporary approach to the magical film romance. The fact that the play is drawing sold-out audiences at Burbank’s Colony Theater illustrates that it is even more intriguing today than when Rex Harrison starred in it on Broadway.”
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