EXCLUSIVE: The Comedian, an Art Linson-scripted drama that Robert De Niro has been sweet on for years, has come together with Mike Newell at the helm. I’m told that the film is now a reality, with De Niro in final talks to start production in early November in New York. Linson will produce the film along with Courtney Solomon and Atmosphere’s Mark Canton, both of whom are providing the financing.
De Niro, who played the iconic stalker/aspiring comedian Rupert Pupkin in The King Of Comedy, here plays an accomplished insult comic, on the order of a Don Rickles (with whom De Niro starred in Casino). The project has been in the works for several years, and the stand-up material was written by Jeffrey Ross, who provides consistently bright spots in the Friars and celebrity roasts on Comedy Central. Linson previously wrote What Just Happened?, the Hollywood saga that starred De Niro.
De Niro has been in the middle of a productive patch. He next stars alongside Anne Hathaway as the title character in The Intern, the new film by writer-director Nancy Meyers. Hands Of Stone, the film he stars in with Edgar Ramirez for director Jonathan Jacubowicz, just sold for a bundle to The Weinstein Company during the Cannes Film Festival, and he recently wrapped the Scott Mann-directed heist film Bus 657, and the David O Russell-directed Joy, with Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper. He’s currently starring with Zac Efron in the Dan Mazer-directed comedy Dirty Grandpa.
De Niro is also coming off a close of his Tribeca Film Festival that featured a restored version of Goodfellas, his masterpiece collaboration with Martin Scorsese. De Niro is repped by CAA, Newell by WME and Independent Talent.