Rami Malek is apparently gearing up to add silent movie comedy legend Buster Keaton to his repertoire of biopic-style roles, with Deadline reporting that the Bohemian Rhapsody Oscar winner is working with director Matt Reeves on a new TV show focused on the star and director of Steamboat Bill, Jr., Sherlock Jr., The General, and other hits of the silent era.
Reeves—who had his first big successes in TV, co-creating Felicity with J.J. Abrams before moving on to direct movies like Cloverfield, Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes, and, most recently, The Batman—is apparently set to both produce and direct the show, which is being developed by Warner Bros. Meanwhile, Ted Cohen, recently of Succession and Veep, is in talks to prestige-TV up the script, possibly working from James Curtis’ book Buster Keaton: A Filmmaker’s Life.
Malek, for his part, most recently popped up in David O. Russell’s Amsterdam, playing the somewhat sinister brother of Margot Robbie’s Valerie. His career, over the last decade-and-change, has definitely veered less comedic than Keaton’s—give or take an SNL episode where Rami gets a treat—although it’s not like the biographical aspects of Keaton’s life were especially funny: After rising to the heights of Hollywood success with a series of (still very funny) silent films, his career and marriage fell apart in the 1930s. (Happily, he both remarried, and recovered, in the 1940s and beyond.) Malek does share Keaton’s big, expressive eyes and undeniable physical presence; still, this is one of those roles—not unlike Rhapsody’s Freddie Mercury—where Malek has given himself some exceptionally big and charismatic shoes to fill.
There’s no title on the series as of yet; Warner Bros. apparently intends to shop it around to other networks or streamers once it’s a little more developed.