Josh Gad to Play Comedian Sam Kinison in Biopic from 'Borat' Director
by Ethan Anderton
August 5, 2013
Nearly three years ago, news surfaced of a biopic about the late, great comedian Sam Kinison coming from Bruce Almighty director Tom Shadyac. The film was originally slated for release on HBO, but then a theatrical release was also planned. Now the project is finally gaining steam again, but this time with new names attached. Deadline reports Sacha Baron Cohen's Borat and The Dictator director Larry Charles will be at the helm of the film based on the 1994 book Brother Sam: The Short, Spectacular Life of Sam Kinison by the comedian's brother Bill Kinison and Jobs co-star Josh Gad will be taking the lead. Read on!
This project has been in the works for over ten years, and once started at Universal before arriving at HBO. This update from Deadline doesn't make any mention of the cable network though, so we're not sure if they're still involved. Shadyac will still executive produce with David Permut who has stuck with the project for years. The film will start in the 80s when Kinison decided to leave the family business of preaching in a Pentecostal church for a career in stand-up comedy in Hollywood. Charles was actually trying to make a name for himself at the same time by writing jokes for headlining comedians. Meanwhile, Kinison was working at The Comedy Store waiting for a chance to get on stage.
Following great success after appearing on a Rodney Dangerfield young comedians special, the comedian made great waves with his own specials, but soon became victim to the life of a successful talent in Hollywood and lost himself in drugs and alcohol. However, unlike the tales of comedians like John Belushi who let those problems consume them to death, Kinison actually cleaned up his act and left those demons behind. But the comedian was taken all too soon anyway as he was killed in a head on collision with a drunken driver in 1992 at the young age of 38.
Since Kinison encountered a lot of familiar faces in his life, such as evangelists Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, comedians like Richard Pryor and radio shock jock Howard Stern, producers are currently in talks with a variety of actors and comedians to fill out those roles. Gad is certainly a fine talent to start with, but he'll certainly have his hands full since Kinison was a force of nature on stage. This could end up being an awards-level performance for Gad if he plays his cards right, and with someone like Charles at the helm, this will likely be an accurate and powerful chronicle of the comedian's short life. Sound good?