The great thing about being Robert De Niro is that any project you want to make will eventually get off the ground, even if based on your star power alone. Such is the case with The Comedian, an Art Linson-scribed drama that De Niro has been trying to make for years, first with Martin Scorsese then with Sean Penn. Now, the two-time Oscar winner is finally moving ahead with the project, having secured Donnie Brasco helmer Mike Newell to sit behind the camera.
De Niro will portray an accomplished insult comic, possibly inspired by Don Rickles. Linson previously penned Hollywood satire What Just Happened (which De Niro starred in), and he’ll also be producing here. Interestingly enough, the stand-up material was written by Jeffrey Ross, best known for his digs during Comedy Central and Friars Club celebrity roasts.
2015 is proving to be an unusually fruitful year for the veteran actor, who last appeared in horrifically terrible thriller The Bag Man. Making a minor comeback of sorts, he’ll star this fall in Nancy Meyers’ The Intern opposite Anne Hathaway, then portray Ray Arcel in boxing biopic Hands of Stone (The Weinstein Company just acquired that title at Cannes). De Niro also has three very different pics in the can – Scott Mann-directed action-thriller Bus 657, David O. Russell’s Joy Mangano biopic Joy and filthy comedy Dirty Grandpa.
For his part, Newell hasn’t made a film since 2012’s Great Expectations. His previous projects have included Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Mona Lisa Smile and Love in the Time of Cholera – which should give you a sense of the guy’s remarkable range.
The Comedian will roll cameras this November. Expect whichever studio snaps it up to plot an awards season release date for sometime next fall.