It’s not often these days that you hear word of a new Robert De Niro project that doesn’t sound completely awful. Recently, when I think “De Niro,” I don’t think Taxi Driver and Raging Bull, I think Meet the Parents sequels and cameos in the New Year’s Eve trailer. So when word of something as promising as Sean Penn’s next film, The Comedian, comes across the news wire, I take a moment to breath deeply and cherish the feeling.

Penn’s first effort as a director since 2007’s Into the Wild, The Comedian will tell the story of an aging comic who is filled with angst and rage due to his fading star power. He’s even hit such a low point that he’s been arrested and assigned community service because he hit an audience member in the head with a microphone. Just the thought of seeing De Niro once again taking on the role of a comedian should be enough to stir up all sorts of positive memories of The King of Comedy, but his casting isn’t the only thing this project has going for it.

Once De Niro’s character gets started with his community service, he ends up meeting a gorgeous redhead who turns his world upside down. That redhead will be played by Kristen Wiig, fresh off her star-making performance in this year’s Bridesmaids. Not only is Wiig the hot thing right now, she’s also completely hilarious and a really unique persona, so I can’t wait to see her and De Niro bouncing things back and forth. So much so that this is probably the De Niro project I’m most looking forward to since all the way back to Rocky and Bullwinkle (or did I mean to say Heat?). Let’s all take the time to send Mr. Penn a nice email to thank him for making it happen. [THR]

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