Sean Penn Directing ‘The Comedian’ With Kristin Wiig, Robert De Niro

The movie centers on a down on his luck jokester sentenced to community service

Sean Penn will direct his friend and method acting idol Robert De Niro in "The Comedian." 

Kristin Wiig, hot off her "Bridesmaids" success, will co-star. 

Despite the title, the movie is a drama centering on a once loved TV comic (De Niro) who is past his prime. 

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After being sentenced to community service for hitting an audience member in the head with his microphone, the comic meets a  defiant redhead (Wiig) who turns his life upside down.

De Niro demonstrated in Martin Scorsese's "The King of Comedy" (1983) that he's well equipped to play a jokester who is missing a few marbles along with the punchlines, and Penn, whose scuffles with the paparazzi are legendary, knows a thing or two about court-ordered community service. 

FilmNation Entertainment will handle international sales for the movie and CAA will represent domestic rights to "The Comedian."

Production is slated to start in Spring 2012.

Art Linson ("American Hot Wax") and Jeffrey Ross wrote the movie. Linson will produce along with John Linson, Jon Kilik and De Niro.