Rami Malek, an Oscar winner for his role of Freddie Mercury in “Bohemian Rhapsody,” will team-up with “The Batman” director Matt Reeves for a new series about the life of early film star Buster Keaton. The unnamed project was sold to Warner Bros. Television, with an eye toward distribution on one of the major streamers, according to Deadline. Ted Cohen, a three-time Emmy winner for work on “Succession,” “Veep,” and “Friends,” is in negotiations to write and serve as executive producer. Reeves will direct.
The series will be based off of the newly released Keaton biography ‘Buster Keaton: A Filmmaker’s Life’ by James Curtis.
Keaton, also known as “The Great Stoneface,” emerged from vaudeville to become one of the major architects of early silent cinema. He didn’t just mug to the camera for comic effect (or anti-mug, I guess you could say) but he was incredibly innovative in using the malleability of cinema’s form to tell stories in a way that simply could not have previously been told. This is a very high-falutin’ way to say he fell on his rump a lot in funny ways, but it’s true. He also was a bit of a madman with stunts that could absolutely, positively not secure production insurance today.
After his glory years in the 1920s, suffered some dark times thanks to a rotten deal and alcoholism. He did have a comeback in the 1940s as a writer, then by making short appearances in successful movies like “Sunset Boulevard” (1950), Charlie Chaplin’s “Limelight” (1952), “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World” (1963), and on television. His influence can be seen by any comedian who offers a blank reaction shot for laughs, but his innovative use of the camera had a tremendous ripple effect everywhere. Orson Welles named his feature-length comedy “The General” as arguably the greatest film ever made.
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