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Bill Murray has teamed with Aziz Ansari to star in an untitled feature for Searchlight Pictures, on which Ansari is making his directorial debut.
Ansari, known for co-creating the Netflix comedy-drama series Master of None, is running quadruple duty on the project. On top of helming, he wrote the script, will play a role in the movie and is producing with Youree Henley. Henley worked with Murray as a producer on the actor’s 2020 outing On the Rocks, and with Ansari on the comedian’s upcoming special, Nightclub Comedian.
The project is based on the Atul Gawande nonfiction book Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End. The New York Times Review of Books described it as a “moving and clear-eyed look at aging and death in our society, and at the harms we do in turning it into a medical problem, rather than a human one.” The Boston Globe called it a “masterful exploration of aging, death and the medical profession’s mishandling of both.”
Details on Ansari’s take or Murray’s character were not revealed, but Searchlight hopes to capitalize on both talents’ abilities to straddle the comedy-drama line.
“Aziz Ansari is an incredible talent and, with this script, he brings a singular combination of insightful humor and pathos,” said Searchlight presidents David Greenbaum and Matthew Greenfield in a statement. “We’re thrilled to be partnering with him on his feature directorial debut, which is long overdue, and, of course, working with the genius Bill Murray once again.”
Taylor Friedman and Cameron Chidsey are overseeing for Searchlight.
Ansari has won two Emmy Awards for outstanding writing for a comedy for Master of None. He also made his directorial debut on the Netflix show, directing 11 episodes over the course of three seasons, earning an Emmy nomination for outstanding directing. He also directed Nightclub Comedian, which will stream on Netflix later this year.
Murray, who earned an Oscar nomination for Sofia Coppola’s 2003 movie, Lost in Translation, recently starred in Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch and popped up in Jason Reitman’s Ghostbusters: Afterlife. He is making his Marvel Studios debut with Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.
Ansari is repped by WME, 3Arts Entertainment, Ocean Avenue Entertainment and Yorn Levine. Murray is repped by Nochimson Law, while Gawande is repped by WME and Tina Bennett.
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