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HBO on laugh track with Sam Kinison film

Story of late comedian headed to bigscreen

HBO Films has decided to give the bigscreen treatment to the late Sam Kinison.

The company’s developing a biopic of the outrageous comic with Tom Shadyac attached to direct and Rich Wilkes writing. Story is based on the memoir “Brother Sam: The Short, Spectacular Life of Sam Kinison” by Bill Kinison and Steve Delson.

Shadyac and David Permut — who have been attempting for a decade to get the Kinison project going — are exec producing. Permut Presentations exec Steve Longi is co-exec producer.

Story will trace Kinison’s rise as the son of a preacher to be one of the most cutting-edge and significant comedians of his era. Kinison first came into the public eye with an appearance on HBO’s Rodney Dangerfield-hosted “Young Comedians” special in 1984. His comedy often pivoted on his former role as an evangelist, with his first album titled “Louder Than Hell.”

Kinison made his film debut in 1986 in Dangerfield’s “Back to School,” playing an angry professor. He died in a traffic accident in 1992.

Shadyac and Permut had “Brother Sam” set up at Universal for many years before taking the project to HBO, where it was first developed as a TV movie with Dan Fogler starring (Daily Variety, Nov. 18, 2008).

Permut’s credits include “Face/Off,” “Youth in Revolt” and “Charlie Bartlett.” Wilkes’ scripting credits include the upcoming “Iron Fist” and “The Wheelman.”

Shadyac’s documentary “I Am” — which details his recovery from a cycling accident — has been picked up by Paladin for a February theatrical release. Bigscreen comedy credits include “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective” and “Bruce Almighty.”

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