Back in June, we reported the rumor that Sean Penn was looking to direct the character-driven drama The Comedian, with Robert De Niro to possibly star. Now it looks like things worked out, as it was announced today that Penn will indeed be directing De Niro in the pic, and they’ve found their female lead in Kristen Wiig. The project previously caught the eye of Martin Scorsese, and centers on an aging insult comic in the vein of Don Rickles and Joan Rivers. De Niro’s character “clings to any recognition that comes from his days as a beloved TV character as he tries to reignite his stagnant career. Sentenced to community service for hitting a heckler in the head with a microphone, the comic meets Harmony, a dazzling and defiant redhead who turns his life sideways.”
The script comes from Art Linson (What Just Happened) and comedian Jeffrey Ross. This definitely sounds like an intriguing project, and Penn’s involvement brings quite a bit of weight to the material. It’s been a while since we’ve seen De Niro take on such a nuanced and complex character, and his pairing with the massively talented Wiig is an inspired choice. Penn was last behind the camera on 2007’s excellent Into the Wild. Production on The Comedian is set to get underway next spring. [Update: We've been sent the full press release, which is now included after the jump]
A few weeks ago, we brought you the rumor that Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro may reunite for Art Linson and Jeffrey Ross’ character-driven script The Comedian with the disclaimer that it would most likely turn out to be unfounded. Today, I’m here to strike that rumor and insert yet another: that Sean Penn will direct De Niro in The Comedian. This newest unconfirmed report comes from the New York Post (via The Playlist) which claims that Penn has come aboard to helm the pic with production set to get underway in New York next year. While my gut tells me to take this news with a grain of salt at present, Penn and De Niro do have some history with Linson who produced films such as Heat and The Untouchables (both starring De Niro) as well as What Just Happened which features both actors.
As a refresher, Linson and Ross’ The Comedian would pit De Niro as an aging insult comic that is described as a Don Rickles/Joan Rivers hybrid. Hopefully we have some sort of solid footing regarding both Penn and De Niro’s involvement sooner rather than later. In the meantime, stay tuned for more on the project, including the rumor I start myself which claims that I’ll be directing the film.
Let’s keep this one in the rumor mill for now, but it’s possible that Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro could reunite for The Comedian. Showbiz411 reports that producer Art Linson co-wrote a script with comedian Jeffrey Ross about an insult comic who’s described as a cross between Don Rickles and Joan River. According to Showbiz411, Linson would like Scorsese to direct. I bet he would. I bet producers the world over would like Scorsese to direct their movie as well. If the project were to move forward (and that’s a big “If”), it would draw an obvious comparison to Scorsese and De Niro’s 1982 film The King of Comedy, even though the characters sound very different.
The reason this all sounds slightly dubious (or at least incredibly hopeful on the part of Linson) is that Scorsese has a wealth of other projects he could choose. Hit the jump for a refresher of what Scorsese is circling as his follow up to this year’s Hugo Cabret, which is the director’s first family film and his first 3D film.