Ooh, it looks like Owen Wilson is taking the male lead opposite Natalie Portman in The Smoker, based on David Schickler's short story that appeared in the New Yorker four years ago (read The Smoker here). The Hollywood Reporter also reports that Richard Linklater is directing the film, which seems brilliant to Gothamist, since Linklater has shown a great hand at delicate philosophy and love stories (Waking Life and Before Sunrise) as well as humor (Dazed and Confused, School of Rock). The premise of The Smoker is simple - a thirty-one year old English teacher, Douglas Kerchek, at an all girls school is proposed to by a student - but the casting of Owen Wilson is intriguing. He's lovable and we'd be proposing to him if he taught us, but when reading Schickler's description of Douglas "Also, he had short black sideburns with streaks of gray in them, a boxer's build, a Ph.D. in English literature from Harvard, and no wife or girlfriend," we sort of imagine Colin Farrell, or at least brother Luke. We're willing to suspend the Ph.D. part, because he was great as Eli Cash. Anyway, Gothamist is certainly intrigued, especially since this may be Owen's second movie that involves cats going to the bathroom on toilets, the first being Meet the Parents. As for Natalie Portman, well, yes, she'll be very convicing as a high school student, since she still looks about sixteen.

The Smoker can also be found in Kissing in Manhattan, a collection of Schickler's stories. Here's what looks like Schickler's website for Kissing in Manhattan. And Gothamist is excited about Linklater's sequel to Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, which comes out on July 2.