Rami Malek is reportedly in talks to play comedy genius Buster Keaton.
The 41-year-old actor has entered negotiations to play the silent movie legend, and will also serve as a producer in the Warner Bros. Television miniseries, Deadline reports.
‘The Batman’ filmmaker Matt Reeves will helm the project, and his own 6th+Idaho Productions will also produce, along with David Weddle.
The studio are negotiating for the rights to James Curtis’ 2022 biography ‘Buster Keaton: A Filmmaker’s Life’ to base the project on, with ‘Succession’ writer Ted Cohen in talks to pen the script and executive produce the series.
Buster was nicknamed “The Great Stone Face” due to keeping a wide-eyed, deadpan expression despite calamities from car crashes to out-of-control trains and cyclones bombarding him on screen.
Thought of as the king of the silent movie and one of Hollywood’s finest comedians alongside Charlie Chaplin, he once said about his trademark look: “The more serious I turned, the bigger laugh I got.”
Born in 1895 into a vaudeville family in Kansas, he made his film debut in the 1917 silent comedy film ‘The Butcher Boy’, written, directed by and starring Roscoe ‘Fatty’ Arbuckle.
An inspiration for directors from Orson Welles to Martin Scorsese, his best-known works include the 1926 American civil war comedy ‘The General’, as well as ‘Sherlock Jr.’, ‘Steamboat Bill, Jr.’ and ‘Our Hospitality’.
‘Steamboat Bill Jr.’ features his most famous and much-mimicked stunt, in which he stood motionless as the front of a building collapses forward, leaving Buster standing unharmed and framed by an open window.
As Hollywood made its awkward transition to talkies, camera and special effects pioneer Buster signed a deal with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer – which he later said hurt his creativity – and battled alcoholism.
The three-times married director and producer, who had two children, branched into TV writing and died aged 70 on 1 February, 1966 from lung cancer in the Woodland Hills neighbourhood of Los Angeles.
Rami, who won the Best Actor Oscar for his portrayal of Queen’s Freddie Mercury in the 2018 biopic of the singer, ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, also earned a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series in 2016 for his work on ‘Mr. Robot’.