Rumor: Could Scorsese and De Niro Revisit Stand-Up in 'The Comedian'?

As the head of the Cannes jury, it was only a matter of time before someone put Robert De Niro's name in conjunction with a project in development, and the hand of fate has landed on "The Comedian," a spec script by producer Art Linson and stalwart celebrity roaster Jeffrey Ross. It tells the story of an insult comic in the vein of Don Rickles or Joan Rivers (or, one would imagine, Jeffrey Ross in thirty years), and Showbiz 411 claims that De Niro loves the material.

The movie is set up and financed - or so they say - so the next step is finding a director. But wait just a second! Martin Scorsese used to direct Robert De Niro all the time! And wouldn't we have quite the marketing angle if we brought Scorsese in again, especially since this is so similar to "The King of Comedy." Besides, Scorsese's the greatest living director; you know, not counting all those Cannes types we don't really understand anyway.

I don't mean to knock Scorsese. He really is as good as everyone says (and if you haven't seen "The King of Comedy," it's amazing), but I never get the impression that these insider producer types really understand why. As for him coming aboard their project, forget about it. He's attached to more projects than he has life to make.

His first 3D film, "Huge Cabaret," is coming out later this year, and after that, he's dead set on making "The Silence." He's been trying to get it made for the better part of the last decade, and now that the financing is in place, I can't imagine him wavering.

The only thing that could distract from that, and if not it will likely happen immediately after, is "The Irishman," a sort of aging gangster story that will supposedly star De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci.

Both Scorsese and De Niro spoke convincingly about it happening, and both have been eager to work together again (De Niro was at one point or another considered for roles in "Gangs of New York" and "The Departed"), so I wouldn't be surprised to see that happen. Also, it's pretty much every producer's dream come true.

Beyond that? He's long been attached to a Frank Sinatra biopic, but that's looking less and less likely as time goes by. Hopefully he's still onboard to do "The Five Obstructions" with Lars von Trier, which was announced last week, regardless of recent developments with von Trier's relationship to the press.

Whatever he does, though, it's not going to be "The Comedian."

This whole story sounds like Art Linson's publicity machine going to town instead of anything actually happening. Linson, who previously wrote the novel, and produced the subsequent adaptation of, "What Just Happened," which starred De Niro, probably isn't wrong in claiming De Niro loved the material. De Niro has a habit of "loving" a lot of screenplays that are put in front of him, and appearing in very few of them. I doubt he'll drag Scorsese along with him.