Larry Charles (Borat, Bruno) has signed on to direct from a screenplay by Rich Wilkes (xXx), based on the book Brother Sam by Bill Kinison. The story starts out in the 1980s, following Sam Kinison's transition from a Pentecostal preacher into the world of stand-up comedy. He became an overnight star after being showcased on a HBO special hosted Rodney Dangerfield, who he co-starred with in Back to School. After battling substance abuse for years, the comedian cleaned up his act before being killed by a drunk driver in 1992 at the age of 38.
David Permut is producing the drama, which was originally set up at HBO Films with Tom Shadyac attached to direct. Here's what the producer had to say about the star and director.
"There was nothing conventional about Sam Kinison and neither will be the cinematic interpretation of his life. 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 producer is currently seeking actors to play real-life celebrities such as Howard Stern, who frequently had Sam Kinison appear on his radio show, where he spoke candidly about his substance abuse issues. Other notable roles the producers are casting include evangelists Jim Baker, Tammy Faye Baker, and Oral Roberts, and comedians such as Richard Pryor.