HBO Documentary Films has begun production on a two-part documentary about seminal comedian George Carlin.
In partnership with Apatow Productions and Rise Films, the untitled film will be directed by Judd Apatow (Knocked Up, The King of Staten Island) along with long-time collaborator and documentarian Michael Bonfiglio.
The documentary will blend intimate interviews with Carlin’s family and friends with personal archive footage, material from his stand-up specials and various television appearances.
Regarded as one of the most influential stand-up comics of his time, Carlin – dubbed “the dean of counterculture comedians” – became renowned for his dark comedy and reflections on various topics in American society, including politics, language, psychology and religion. He filmed his first HBO special in 1977 and was a frequent performer on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, appearing more than 130 times. Carlin passed away in June 2008 from cardiac arrest at the age 0f 71.
The untitled Carlin project will reunite Apatow, Bonfiglio and editor Joe Beshenkovsky after having served as the key creative team behind HBO’s Emmy-winning documentary The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling, which was directed by Apatow.
The film will be executive produced by Apatow, Rise Films’ Teddy Leifer, Jerry Hamza and Carlin’s daughter, Kelly Carlin.
Apatow is represented by UTA, Mosaic and Ziffren Brittenham. Bonfiglio is represented by 3 Arts Entertainment. Leifer is represented by UTA and SmithDehn.
“George Carlin’s work becomes more relevant every day,” said Apatow in a statement. “It is an honor to be given the opportunity to tell the story of his life and work.”
“Having been the public keeper of my dad’s legacy these last 12 years, I’ve dreamt of the right people appearing at the right moment to give the documentary telling of my father’s story what it deserves – an honoring of his comedic genius and unique cultural impact, while not shying away from his personal struggles and humanity,” added Kelly Carlin. “I’m thrilled that Jerry Hamza and I have teamed up with Judd Apatow, Michael Bonfiglio and Teddy Leifer to make it happen now. May the comedy gods smile up at us as we endeavor to share my dad’s heart, mind and genius with the world.”
“The sting of his words is as sharp now as when he was on stage. Carlin is the comedian’s comedian who mastered his craft and shaped American counterculture such that he paved the way for a generation of comics that followed,” noted executive producer Teddy Leifer. I’m thrilled that we will once again be working with our wonderful colleagues at HBO and that Judd Apatow, another comedy giant, is directing.”
Photo credit: Dan Dion