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Bobby Cannavale, Robert De Niro join Tony Goldwyn’s comedy drama Inappropriate Behavior

Cannavale will play the father of a 9-year-old son with Asperger's

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Robert De Niro and Bobby Cannavale sign on to star in Tony Goldwyn's comedy drama Inappropriate Behavior
Robert De Niro, Bobby Cannavale
Photo: Greg Doherty; Astrid Stawiarz (Getty Images)

Bobby Cannavale and Robert De Niro have signed on for the comedy drama Inappropriate Behavior directed by Scandal alum Tony Goldwyn. The film was inspired by screenwriter Tony Spiridakis’s relationship with his son, who is neurodiverse.

Per Variety, Cannavale will star as Max Brandel, a late-night comedy writer who eschews his successful television career to pursue stand-up. After the dissolution of his marriage, he moves in with his father Stan (De Niro), “A gifted but eccentric chef turned doorman.” The actors last appeared on screen together in Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman.


When Max and his ex-wife disagree on how to deal with their 9-year-old son Ezra’s Asperger’s, “Brandel decides the solution is to kidnap Ezra and take him on a trek across the country.” Perhaps not the best custody solution, but the journey promises to be “honest, hilarious and heart-warming.”


Goldwyn and Spiridakis are set to produce alongside Howard Rosenman and Lois Robbins. In a statement, they said: “The development of this film has been a deeply personal journey. We are so proud to bring Tony’s hilarious and emotional screenplay to life and have embarked on a search for a brilliant young actor on the Autism spectrum to play Ezra.”


David Garrett of distributor Mister Smith Entertainment added: “This is a very poignant and joyous story written by someone whose characters give neurodiversity both agency and a voice–and a very funny one at that.”

The story presumably struck a chord with De Niro as well, as he is also a parent of a child with autism. Unfortunately his personal interest in autism has in the past led him down the anti-vaccination rabbit hole. (Who can forget his infamous team-up with Robert F. Kennedy, like an anti-vaxx Avengers.) In this case, we hope the Inappropriate Behavior referenced in the title doesn’t include any vaccination conspiracy theories.