After Sony failed to get Rick Moranis to reprise the role of Louis Tully in the forthcoming Ghostbusters: Afterlife, fans began to think that maybe the reclusive comedian would just never head back to Hollywood. Now, a rumor suggests that he might do a new take on an old role after all -- but it would be Wayne Szalinski, the eccentric inventor at the center of Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. No word on what the odds are that he might actually turn out to be involved in Shrunk, Disney's planned reinvention of the franchise, but Disney Insider reports that he is in early talks to appear -- his first major live-action appearance since 1997's Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves!.
In the interim, Moranis has journeyed into voice work a few times, notably reprising the role of Dark Helmet (from Spaceballs) for an episode of The Goldbergs. He has done half a dozen animation roles in the last 20 years, and even a brief live-action appearance in the role of Bob McKenzie, a character he originated almost 40 years ago on SCTV.
But generally, since the last installment of the Shrunk franchise, Moranis has remained out of the public eye, choosing to walk away from Hollywood and use the millions he made on beloved franchises to help raise his kids in relative peace.
The decision has not only made bringing him out of retirement a frequent fixation for fans, but led to a degree of admiration for Moranis that might have eluded a supporting comic actor. The notion of turning your back on piles of money to make life better for your kids is certainly a luxury -- but it's one that, even when offered, a lot of people have trouble accepting.
Shrunk sounds jarringly depressing considering the source material; it reportedly involved bringing in Josh Gad to play a grown-up version of Wayne's son from the original movies, while Wayne himself lost his wife to cancer and has become an often-shrunk shell of his former self.
Here's the pitch, according to the Disney Insider report:
Aware that the family ties have loosened over time but seemingly afraid to confront anyone directly. He has been tinkering alone in his attic for decades, dealing with the grief of losing his wife. When we first meet him, he has accidentally shrunk himself and is flying around on a shrunken drone — seemingly lost in a continuous of tinkering and experimenting that often puts himself and his family in jeopardy. He later reveals he shut himself away to try and invent a solution to help shrink Diane's cancer but found it hard to cope when he ran out of time. His guilt and shame is palpable. Through the crisis of the kids getting shrunk, the truth emerges and the bonds begin to redevelop between him and his kids.
Shrunk will reportedly shoot in early 2020 with an eye toward a theatrical release, likely in 2021 but with no official date set.