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HBO’s Sam Kinison Biopic Now Heading for the Big Screen

Tom Shadyac (”Bruce Almighty“) is attached to direct from a screenplay by Rich Wilkes

Sam Kinison may have gotten his start on the small screen, but a long-gestating biopic of the late comedian is now headed to the big one.

HBO Films has attached Tom Shadyac ("Bruce Almighty") to direct a feature film based on the memoir "Brother Sam: The Short, Spectacular Life of Sam Kinison" by Bill Kinison and Steve Delson, reports Variety.

Rich Wilkes ("The Jerky Boys") will write the screenplay, which will follow Kinison from his childhood as the son of a preacher and track his rise to fame as one of the most influential comedians of his time.

Shadyac and David Permut ("Dragnet") will executive produce the film, having spent years trying to get the project off the ground. It was previously set up at Universal before the duo took it to HBO, where it was initially developed as a TV movie with Dan Fogler set to play the irascible comic.

It's unclear whether Fogler is still attached to play Kinison (this post will be updated when I receive confirmation one way or the other), but I've seen Fogler in character as Kinison and believe he would do a great job. In fact, I can't imagine who else would be able to do it.

HBO gave Kinison his start in 1984, when the foul-mouthed comic first appeared on the cable network's "Young Comedians" special, which was hosted by Rodney Dangerfield. Two years later, Kinison made his film debut as an angry professor opposite Dangerfield in "Back to School." Kinison died in a traffic accident in 1992.

Permut Presentations exec Steve Longi will co-exec produce the biopic.

Paladin recently picked up Shadyac's documentary "I Am," which chronicles his recovery from a cycling accident that nearly ended the director's career. The film is scheduled for theatrical release in February.