Fonda and Redford may star in film of Haruf's 'Our Souls at Night'

'Our Souls at Night' will reunite 'Barefoot in the Park' stars Robert Redford and Jane Fonda.
‘Our Souls at Night’ would reunite Robert Redford and Jane Fonda nearly 50 years after ‘Barefoot in the Park.’

According to several media sources, Jane Fonda and Robert Redford have agreed to terms with Netflix to star in a film version of Our Souls at Night, the final book by acclaimed Colorado novelist Kent Haruf.

The film would reunite the stars of Tall Story, Barefoot in the Park, The Chase, and The Electric Horseman

Our Souls at Night would nicely bookend the Hollywood superstars’ screen lives, nearly 50 years since Barefoot in the Park debuted in 1967. In the classic Neil Simon comedy, the pair starred as young newlyweds. In Our Souls at Night, they will play widowed neighbors who strike up a romantic relationship, hoping to make the most of the time they have left.

The deal was reportedly done at the recent Toronto International Film Festival. The screenplay would be written by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, who also wrote Paper Towns, The Fault in Our Stars, (500) Days of Summer, and The Spectacular Now. An official announcement has not yet been announced because the option has not yet been signed by the author’s widow, Cathy Haruf, of Salida.  


But the sale of the movie rights would mean the Denver Center for Performing Arts Theatre Company’s plans to adapt Our Souls at Night for the stage would have to be delayed, at least.

Chris Kendall, Billie McBride and Kathleen McCall read from 'Our Souls at Night' at the Tattered Cover. Photo by John Moore.“I’m very excited Kent Haruf’s work will gain a larger audience,” Producing Artistic Director Kent Thompson said in a statement. “However, we were of course very disappointed that the Denver Center cannot create a stage adaptation of Our Souls At Night.”

The Theatre Company planned to develop the stage adaptation with the same creative team that worked on Haruf’s Plainsong Trilogy, which included Eventide and Benediction. All three Haruf novels were adapted by playwright Eric Schmiedl and received world-premiere stagings at the DCPA.

(Pictured: Chris Kendall, Billie McBride and Kathleen McCall read from ‘Our Souls at Night’ at the Tattered Cover. Photo by John Moore.)

“We wish the film all success, and will decide about the stage adaptation, when and if the rights become available,” Thompson said.

Netflix has jumped head-first into creating its own content for subscribers, most notably the recent return of the TV series Arrested Development. Recently, Fonda starred in the Netflix original series Grace and Frankie with Lily Tomlin.

As his other novels were, Our Souls at Night is set in a fictional town on the Eastern Colorado Plains. In his final interview, with the DCPA’s NewsCenter, Haruf said the story is inspired by his story with wife his wife, Cathy.

In 2014, Fonda told Vanity Fair’s Krista Smith that of all the co-stars she’s had over her career, the one she really wants to work with again is Redford. “I just love him,” she said. “The only bad thing about Redford is that he doesn’t like to do love scenes, so the fact that he didn’t look forward to those always made me sad.

“I thought maybe we could have gotten it on.”

DCPA actors read from 'Our Souls at Night' at the Tattered Cover in June. Photo by John Moore.
DCPA actors read from ‘Our Souls at Night’ at the Tattered Cover in June. Photo by John Moore.

Selected previous DCPA NewsCenter coverage of Kent Haruf:
Kent Haruf: The complete final interview
DCPA will adapt Haruf’s final novel for the stage
DCPA actors to read from Kent Haruf’s final book
Video, photos: DCPA celebrates life of Colorado novelist Kent Haruf
Benediction opens as a celebration of the ‘Precious Ordinary’
DCPA to celebrate Kent Haruf on Feb. 7
Bittersweet opening for ‘Benediction’ rehearsals
Kent Haruf, author of ‘Plainsong’ Trilogy, dies at age 71

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