In what might be the first bit of shocking news in 2020 that’s actually good, beloved comic actor Rick Moranis is finally returning to the screen after a 23-year hiatus from live-action movies, Deadline reports. The SCTV legend and Honey, I Shrunk the Kids star has signed on to appear in the latest sequel to Shrunk the Kids, entitled, simply, Shrunk. Moranis will once again be playing scientist Wayne Szalinski, who has a long history of accidentally altering the size of his family members. The new movie will be directed by Joe Johnston, who made the original, and will star Josh Gad as Szalinski’s son, who apparently goes into the family business of screwing around with how big and/or small people are supposed to be.
This is going to be Moranis’s first on-screen role since 1997, when he starred in the direct-to-video Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves. It was a weirdly flat end to a career that thrived throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s, with Moranis playing unforgettable roles in Ghostbusters, Little Shop of Horrors and Spaceballs. Before Hollywood he was a star on the brilliant Canadian sketch comedy show SCTV, where he and Dave Thomas created the McKenzie brothers, Bob and Doug, who became a pop culture phenomenon, releasing an album and starring in the cult classic Strange Brew.
Moranis retired from live-action in 1997, after a starring role in a forgettable comedy called Big Bully, six years after his wife passed away from cancer. He essentially quit the business in order to focus on raising his two children, while also remarking that he wasn’t feeling creatively fulfilled by the types of movies that he had been making. He still did some voice over work—he and Thomas voiced two characters in Disney’s Brother Bear that were similar to the McKenzies. He also launched a new career as a country musician, releasing the Grammy-nominated album The Agoraphobic Cowboy in 2005.
Moranis’s retirement was so thorough and unquestioned that it was a surprise in 2018 when it was announced that he would take part in a live SCTV reunion that Martin Scorsese was filming for Netflix. That special has yet to be released.
Hopefully Moranis’s return to the screen won’t be a one-off. He was one of the best comic actors of his day, and has been dearly missed.