I don’t know how comfortable I’d be taking creative orders from a man who once burned himself with a cigarette in order to prepare for a role that demanded little more than jokes about marijuana. But that very man, Sean Penn, is set to direct Robert DeNiro the upcoming film, The Comedian.
Penn is more than adequate onscreen—due, I’m speculating, to his complete lunacy, which allows him total dedication to any role. The art and audiences benefit. But what happens when Penn’s job is telling other actors how to act? Does this degree of control over other human beings inspire fear in anyone else?
Maybe I’m being too harsh. After all, Penn’s last directorial project was Into the Wild, and star Emile Hirsch was not deterred from working with Penn again, because he played opposite Penn in Milk. This time around, Penn’s working with someone far less fragile—or so I’d assume—than the kid from The Girl Next Door. This time, he’s got Bobby DeNiro.
DeNiro is expected to star in The Comedian as a comedian late in his career and if anyone can handle a madman’s orders, it’s him. And perhaps it is a madman like Penn who can mold the DeNiro of today back into the one that we’re all trying to pretend is still in there, somewhere. Perhaps this script, penned by Fight Club producer Art Linson and comedian Jeffrey Ross, this sour story of a once-great, aging performer, is exactly what the actor needs. Perhaps it’s what the director needs, too, to prove that there is in fact a method to his madness. Perhaps it’s what we all need. To be able to believe, once more, in Hollywood.
Source: The New York Post