Deadline is reporting that Ray director Taylor Hackford has signed on to direct Robert De Niro in The Comedian, which is neither a comedy nor a Watchmen spinoff about an aging domino-mask-clad mercenary facing his checkered past. Hackford is stepping in for Mike Newell, who departed due to scheduling conflicts.
Despite the confusing title, the film is reportedly a return to dramatic form for De Niro, who has spent much of the last couple of decades playing intentionally unfunny characters, unintentionally unfunny characters, assorted old farts who are too old for this shit, and occasionally moonlighting in terrible thrillers.
De Niro will be playing an aging insult comic, with material written by Comedy Central Roast mainstay Jeff Ross; casting is underway to find the people that this Comedian will be professionally and personally alienating. As an older stand-up, he’ll ostensibly share something in common with comic veterans like Jerry Seinfeld, except that he’d actually enjoy offending people instead of whining about the stifling oppression of millennial political correctness.
Of course, De Niro fans will be reminded of his performance as Rupert Pupkin, the hapless schmuck who kidnaps Jerry Lewis in Martin Scorsese’s The King Of Comedy. Hopefully De Niro’s return to the comedy circuit will see him honing his craft somewhere other than his mother’s basement.