NEW YORK — HBO will turn the life of Jackie Gleason into “The Great One,” a film to be directed by Pete Segal (“The Nutty Professor II: The Klumps”). “The Sopranos” writer-producer Terry Winter is penning the pic based on the book “Jackie Gleason: An Intimate Portrait of the Great One.”
Brad Grey, Michael Ewing, Segal and Kevin Marcy are exec producing.
Segal, who partners with Ewing in the Universal-based Greenhaven Films, is directing a project that reunites him with HBO topper Chris Albrecht, with whom he last worked on an Ace Award-winning Tom Arnold comedy special.
The film will focus on Gleason as a tough street kid and former prizefighter who soared to the top of the nascent TV biz as host of his own variety show and star of “The Honeymooners.” Gleason’s gift was comic intuition, even if he did drive his cast members crazy because he hated to rehearse and was the master of the ad lib.
HBO’s Keri Putnam and Brillstein-Grey’s Susie Fitzgerald are shepherding “The Great One.”
Winter, nominated for a WGA nod for his “Sopranos” scripting, also wrote the indie film “Nailed Right In,” which Griffin Dunne is directing. Johnny Depp is attached, and a pre-strike shoot is a possibility.