Films about famous comics often seem to take a while to coalesce on screen – just look at the endless stints in limbo suffered by the Richard Pryor biopic. One appears to be on the right track at last, with the story of the late Sam Kinison scoring The Internship’s Josh Gad for the main role.
Borat / Bruno director and Curb Your Enthusiasm veteran Larry Charles is set to direct Kinison. “There was nothing conventional about Sam Kinison and neither will be the cinematic interpretation of his life,” says producer David Permut. “Larry Charles is the perfect director to bring Rich Wilkes’ incredible script to screen, and Josh Gad’s tremendous ability to morph into a role will bring great depth to Kinison’s larger than life persona.”
The film will chart Kinison’s life in the 1980s, when he left behind the Pentecostal preaching his family practiced to try to break into stand up in Hollywood. Charles was actually around at the same time, and got to know Kinison at the Comedy Store when both were starting off in the business. Kinison’s career took off quickly, as he was launched on a Rodney Dangerfield young comedy special and seemed destined for stardom after appearing in Back To School.
Then came the drink and drugs; as Kinison’s fame expanded, his addictions increased. Yet in a supreme irony, he was actually clean and sober when he was killed in a collision with a drunk driver in 1992.
Writer Wilkes and the producers have been researching Kinison’s life via old friends and colleagues including Howard Stern (who, while he has a history of playing himself on film, probably won’t be able to make it work this time unless it’s an audio cameo).
Gad has form playing real people: he’ll soon be seen as Steve Wozniak alongside Ashton Kutcher in Jobs.