Leslie Mann Replaces Jennifer Aniston Opposite Robert De Niro in ‘The Comedian’

Taylor Hackford will direct the indie movie for Cinelou Films

Leslie Mann is set to star opposite Robert De Niro in “The Comedian,” which Taylor Hackford will direct for Cinelou Films, TheWrap has learned.

Cinelou will finance “The Comedian” and its co-CEOs Courtney Solomon and Mark Canton will produce the film with its screenwriter Art Linson as well as John Linson. Production will begin in New York in the coming weeks.

Mann will play a woman who befriends an acerbic stand-up comic (De Niro) after they unexpectedly connect at a wedding.

Jennifer Aniston had signed on to play the part in November, although an insider tells TheWrap that “they couldn’t quite make the dates work and her schedule didn’t allow her to commit to filming.”

The swap may be an upgrade, however, as Mann is no stranger to stand-up comics — she’s married to Judd Apatow, who started out telling jokes on stage before directing his wife in “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” “Knocked Up,” “Funny People” and “This Is 40.”

Leslie Mann‘s impeccable timing and ability to inject drama into comedy make her the right choice for the film. We are so excited to welcome her to the cast of ‘The Comedian,'” Solomon said.

Mann recently starred in “The Other Woman” and “Vacation,” and she’ll soon be seen alongside Dakota Johnson and Rebel Wilson in New Line’s romantic comedy “How to Be Single.” CAA represents the actress, whose casting was first reported by Showbiz 411.

Cinelou Films backed the Aniston drama “Cake” and just wrapped another Aniston movie, “The Yellow Birds,” which stars Tye Sheridan, Alden Ehrenreich and Jack Huston. The company also has the Eddie Murphy-Britt Robertson family drama “Mr. Church” and the Vera Farmiga-Jacob Tremblay movie “Burn Your Maps” in post-production. The two-year-old prestige label plans to release four films a year and has a deal with Warner Bros. to handle worldwide international distribution for six Cinelou releases over the next three years.