The life of the comedian Sam Kinison—a Pentecostal preacher who became one of the hottest and most controversial performers of the 1980s by tapping into his shrieking id, almost destroyed his career with his excessive drinking and drug use, and who then cleaned up his act, only to be killed in a head-on car collision with a drunk driver—has always seemed ripe biopic material. For years, various filmmakers and actors (notably Dan Fogler) have tried to get a movie based on Kinison’s life lined up. Now Deadline is reporting that the latest attempt will star Josh Gad, best known for his Tony-nominated performance in The Book Of Mormon, who will show off his screaming range in the title role of Kinison. Gad, who also plays Steve Wozniak in the forthcoming Jobs, will star in the title role of the film whose screenplay was adapted by Rich Wilkes, from a book by the comedian’s brother, Bill Kinison.
The director is Larry Charles, who has a history of working on idiosyncratic projects—everything from Borat to the Bob Dylan-starring Masked And Anonymous. Producer David Permut, promises that, just as “there was nothing conventional about Sam Kinison… neither will be the cinematic interpretation of his life.” How excited that gets you may depend on how well you remember other “unconventional” film biographies of messed-up comedians, such as Richard Pryor’s Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life Is Calling or 1989’s Wired, starring Michael Chiklis as John Belushi.