EXCLUSIVE: The date hears that Warner Bros. Television is developing a Buster Keaton limited series starring Oscar and Emmy winner Rami Malek as the vaudeville silent comedy star.
Matt Reeves, Malek and David Weddle’s 6th & Idaho Productions are producing, and we understand that The Batman director led. Three-time Emmy winner Ted Cohen (Friends, Success, Veep) is in talks to write and serve as an executive producer on the project. James Curtis’ Buster Keaton: A Filmmaker’s Life is being looked at as source material for the series, with discussions ongoing with the studio to secure the book.
Daniel Pipski and Rafi Crohn from 6th & Idaho are also EPs.
The project is expected to be bought to streams and networks; 6th & Idaho is under full agreement with Warner Bros., as Date first told you. Reeves is also working on it Batman Warners’ HBO Max spinoff series, The Penguin, with Colin Farrell reprising his web villain from the film.
Known for his deadpan expression, actor-director Keaton starred in films like The Playhouse, Cops, The Electric House, Sherlock Jr and The General among many others; the latter was considered his masterpiece.
In The General, an engineer, after being rejected by the Confederate army, not realizing it was because of his vital civilian job, must catch himself alone on his beloved locomotive after being captured by Union spies and his return through enemy lines. Steamboat Bill Jr. known for being a nail-biting action thriller with a brutal ending that sees Keaton dragged through a storm, one disaster after another.
Born into a vaudeville family, Keaton’s career declined after he joined MGM and lost his artistic independence. His wife divorced him, and he became an alcoholic. His career came back in the 1940s; He remarried, and won an Honorary Academy Award in 1959.
Filmmakers including Mel Brooks, Martin Scorsese and Orson Welles were inspired by Keaton, seeing him as an artist ahead of his time. Curtis is a noted biographer of Preston Sturges and WC Fields.
Reeves’ The Batman Warner Bros. shot back to theaters last year, grossing nearly $771 million worldwide. It was also one of the most watched movies on HBO Max. Malek won Best Actor at the Oscars for his turn as Queen frontman Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody, and Lead Actor in a Drama Series at the Emmys for its US spin-off Mr. Robot. He starred as the main villain in Daniel Craig’s 007 swan song, No time to die, which grossed over $774M worldwide
Malek is repped by WME, Brillstein Entertainment Partners, and Sloane, Offer, Weber & Dern. Cohen is repped by Literate Management, Rohner Walerstein, and UTA. Reeves is repped by CAA, 3 Arts and Jackoway Austen Tyerman Wertheimer Mandelbaum Morris Bernstein Trattner & Klein.
Warner Bros. Television offered no comment when reached.