Sean Penn will direct The Comedian, a film that will star Robert De Niro and Kristen Wiig. FilmNation will sell international territories at next week’s AFM. Production is expected to begin next spring. The script was written by Art Linson and Jeffrey Ross, and Linson will produce with John Linson, Jon Kilik and DeNiro.

De Niro will play Jackie Burke, a raging comic past his prime who 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. De Niro, of course, starred in The King of Comedy. Wiig is coming off the summer hit Bridesmaids, which she co-wrote. CAA is shopping domestic rights.