The Art Linson script The Comedian has been on Oscar winner Robert De Niro‘s radar for many years, and now it looks like the film will finally come to fruition. Deadline reports that Donnie Brasco helmer Mike Newell has signed on to direct the long-gestating project.
De Niro (Silver Linings Playbook) has been circling the project for years, with reports of both Martin Scorsese and Sean Penn formerly tapped to direct. The film tells the tale of an aging insult comic in the Don Rickles vein. (De Niro and Rickles share a screen history, having both starred in 1995’s Casino). Jeff Ross, a fixture on the Friar’s Club and Comedy Central roast circuit, has been attached to write the stand-up material for the film. The project seems a fitting bookend to De Niro’s performance as aspiring comedian/stalker Rupert Pupkin in 1982’s The King of Comedy.
It’s been a very active year for De Niro, who is starring in the upcoming The Intern opposite Anne Hathaway (Interstellar). His recent drama Hands of Stone, in which he portrays the trainer of champion boxer Roberto Duran, was picked up at this year’s Cannes Film Festival by the Weinstein Company.