A movie about the life of famed cartoonist and longtime Willamette Week contributor John Callahan is officially in production, according to inside sources.
This past week, Gus Vant Sant, Joaquin Phoenix, Jonah Hill and Rooney Mara were in Portland to confirm the project and visit Callahan's old friends. They were spotted at the bar at the Heathman Hotel on Saturday night, drinking iced tea and sparking water, and had dinner at Tusk that evening.
The film is titled "Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot," based on Callahan's 1989 autobiography of the same name. The project has been in the works for the past 20 years, when the late Robin Williams bought the rights to the story of Callahan, who was paralyzed at age 21 after a car accident while riding with a drunk-driving friend.
Callahan was a cartoonist known for his often politically incorrect humor, though the Washington Post called him "among the most brilliant and original cartoonists who ever lived." Two animated cartoons TV shows were based on his works, including the Nickelodeon show Pelswick.
Callahan died in 2010 after a lengthy hospital stay. For the past seven years, locals in Portland have been raising money to create a memorial for Callahan on the corner of Northwest 21st Avenue and Lovejoy Street. The hope is to break ground sometime in 2017.
Now, seven years after Callahan's death, Van Sant is about to start filming in LA, which is set to star Phoenix as Callahan, Hill as Callahan's Alcoholics Anonymous sponsor and Mara as Callahan's girlfriend. Robin Williams had asked director Gus Van Sant do to the adaptation.