Robert De Niro has been gearing up what’s been known as his “passion project” for some time, a film called The Comedian in which he would play an insult comic modeled off Don Rickles. De Niro has now secured a director for the film, Taylor Hackford (Ray, Parker). Deadline exclusively reported that Hackford came on board after director Mike Newell departed due to scheduling, and that casting for the film is now underway.
Roast comic Jeff Ross wrote all of De Niro’s stand-up material for the film, and the screenplay was penned by Art Linson, who previously wrote De Niro’s What Just Happened and has produced everything from Fight Club to The Untouchables to Into the Wild. It’ll be interesting to see De Niro take on the role, because it’s perhaps most closely similar to his underrated, almost cult performance as Rupert Pupkin in Martin Scorsese’s The King of Comedy.
Another long delayed passion project has taken another step forward. This one comes from Jim Henson’s son Brian Henson. His project Happytime Murders was to be a noirish detective story featuring none other than the Muppets alongside other real-life actors, along the lines of Who Framed Roger Rabbit? The script by Red writers Erich and Jon Hoeber has been on the blacklist since 2008, long before the Muppets had their resurgence. Now THR reports that the film has found new life at another studio, STX Entertainment.
In what initially sounds like another Disney cash-cow or a sequel to Cinderella, Disney has acquired a script for a live-action comedy about Prince Charming, who appears as a token character in just about all the Disney princess classics. The script however, by first-timer Matt Fogel and an associate on Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, will focus on Prince Charming’s slightly less endearing brother, who is consistently shamed by his family for not achieving as highly as his brother. Variety reported the news, but has no details on an arrival date or a cast. The project seems in line with something like Enchanted more so than Disney’s recent reimaginings of animated classics. Get Chris Pine in the role though and you might have something.
Mark Wahlberg is reteaming with Peter Berg, his director on Lone Survivor, for a new action movie called Mile 22. Via THR, the script by Graham Roland (Fringe, Lost) is the story of a CIA agent tasked with transporting a recently outed informant to a getaway plane 22 miles away, all while trying to avoid criminals aiming to prevent them. The film will also star UFC fighter Ronda Rousey and The Raid‘s Iko Uwais. Sounds a little like a modern day 3:10 to Yuma to me.
Finally, it was only a matter of time before the historic Supreme Court ruling on Marriage Equality would be turned into an Oscar-winning film. Deadline reports that Fox 2000 has acquired the life rights to the lead plaintiff in the case, Jim Obergefell, as well as those of his lawyer and of the book based on the case 21 Years to Midnight. No official start date for the project has been named, but casting is now underway for who will play the film’s villain, Antonin Scalia.