Matt Reeves is swapping Batman for Buster Keaton.
The “Batman” director is set to helm a limited series based on the life of actor Buster Keaton, with Rami Malek transforming into the silent film star. Reeves will also produce the series through his 6th and Idaho Productions production banner under an overall deal at Warner Bros. TV.
Malek and David Weddle are confirmed to also produce; Ted Cohen is in talks to serve as executive producer and writer. The upcoming series is expected to use James Curtis’ biography “Buster Keaton: A Filmmaker’s Life” as source material as Warner Bros. is negotiating the rights for the 2022 book.
Vaudeville actor Keaton made his onscreen debut in silent comedy “The Butcher Boy” and went on to collaborate with Douglas Fairbanks, Joseph M. Schenck, and Edward F. Cline, among others. Keaton eventually formed an eponymous production company and began directing films like “Sherlock Jr.,” “Steamboat Bill Jr.,” and “Our Hospitality.” The MGM and Columbia Pictures-contracted star died in 1966.
This isn’t the first time Malek has taken on the role of a real person: The actor won the Academy Award for portraying Freddie Mercury in the 2018 Queen musical biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Malek is additionally known for the series “Mr. Robot,” which concluded in 2019.
Director Reeves is also set to helm “The Batman 2” with Robert Pattinson reprising his role as the titular superhero. HBO Max spin-off series “The Penguin” is in the works at the streamer as well, but Reeves will not be directing, just serving as an executive producer.
“Matt’s up to his bollocks, you know, hovering over the keyboard and just planning the story because he’s just so meticulous,” “The Penguin” actor Colin Farrell said. “He’s so obsessive about what he does, but he’s all over [HBO Max’s] ‘The Penguin’ [series] as well. I mean, he’s not gonna direct it but he’s all over the structure of the scripts and who’s going to direct them. And so, it’s exciting.”
Antonio Campos will serve as writer and showrunner on the series, which also stars Cristin Milioti as Sofia Falcone, the daughter of John Turturro’s mafia boss Carmine Falcone. Production for the series will take five or six months and will begin in February.