The character Ignatius J. Reilly is described, in the book, as “a fat Don Quixote.” Substantial actors such as John Belushi, Chris Farley, and John Candy have been cast in the role only to pass away before production. Producers have attempted to break the curse by casting the much thinner Qualls.
After decades of failed attempts to bring John Kennedy Toole’s cult classic novel, A Confederacy of Dunces
to the big screen, Universal announced yesterday that DJ Qualls has been cast as the main character of the novel, Ignatius J. Reilly, in the planned upcoming film version, set for a Christmas Day 2013 release.
Universal acquired the rights earlier this year after Sony’s possession of them expired. Production could never get going by Sony Pictures despite scripts being finalized and purported, secret table readings.
The novel, published after Toole’s death, is set in New Orleans during the early 1960s and tells the story of Qualls’ character, Reilly, as he experiences misadventure after misadventure at various jobs, and his interactions and living arrangements with his overbearing, widowed mother, who will reportedly be played by Patricia Heaton.