Jim Sheridan‘s remake of Susanne Bier‘s Brothers, a first-rate, Danish-language 2004 drama, will costar Tobey Maguire as the older, responsible, married brother who goes off to Iraq, Natalie Portman (he said) as Maguire’s wife, and Jake Gyllenhaal as the younger fuck-up brother who begins to fill his brother’s familial duties when Maguire disappears during a skirmish and is presumed dead.

(l. to r.) Jim Sheridan, Tobey Maguire, Natalie Portman, Jake Gyllenhaal

A 9.17 Variety story by Tatiana Siegel didn’t mention Portman, but Sheridan himself told me she’s ot the part last night. I was inspecting a pair of non-prescription reading glasses at the CVS drug store at the corner of La Cienega and Santa Monica Blvds. last night when Sheridan — ruddy-faced, white-haired, wearing a white shirt and dark-gray blazer — tapped me on the shoulder and said “hey.”

Sheridan said he wants the trio to be younger than they were in Bier’s film. The only problem is that the 5 foot, 8-inch tall Maguire is 4 inches shorter than Gyllenhaal, who stands six feet. This violates the general biological rule that brothers are either roughly the same height or no more than two inches apart. My brother Tony and I are about an inch apart, if that, and my younger son Dylan is 6′ 4″ to Jett’s 6’2″ — you’ll rarely see brothers who are 3 or 4 inches apart.

The way to finagle this, of course, is to have Maguire walk around with those special shoes that Humphrey Bogart wore when he stood next to Ingrid Bergman during scenes in Casablanca.