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Aziz Ansari Sets Directorial Debut With Searchlight Comedic Drama Starring Bill Murray

Aziz Ansari
Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

Aziz Ansari has been appointed to direct an untitled comedic drama for Searchlight Pictures. He will co-star in the movie with Bill Murrary.

In addition to directing the film in his feature debut, Ansari, who created the Netflix series “Master of None,” will also write the screenplay and produce the movie. Searchlight will release the film theatrically in 2023.

The project is being adapted from Atul Gawande’s 2014 nonfiction book “Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End.” Gawande, a practicing surgeon, describes his book — about aging, patients’ anxieties regarding death and doctor’s tendencies to fall back on false hope — as having the potential to “change medicine — and lives.” Through reflections and personal stories, the book takes a look at the limitations and failures of modern medicine at the end of a person’s life.

Author Malcolm Gladwell called “Being Mortal” Gawande’s “most powerful — and moving” book. “American medicine, ‘Being Mortal’ reminds us, has prepared itself for life but not for death,” Gladwell wrote.

Plot details have not been announced. Thus, it is not clear who Ansari or Murray will play in the film.

“Aziz Ansari is an incredible talent and, with this script, he brings a singular combination of insightful humor and pathos,” said Searchlight Presidents David Greenbaum and Matthew Greenfield in a statement. “We’re thrilled to be partnering with him on his feature directorial debut, which is long overdue, and, of course, working with the genius Bill Murray once again.”

Youree Henley is co-producing the film with Ansari. Taylor Friedman and Cameron Chidsey are overseeing for Searchlight.

Ansari took a break from Hollywood after sexual misconduct allegations were leveled against him in 2018. He since returned to film and television with “Master of None: Moments in Love” and his sixth stand-up special, “Nightclub Comedian.”

Murray, who scored an Oscar nomination for Sofia Coppola’s “Lost in Translation,” recently starred in Wes Anderson’s “The French Dispatch,” as well as Jason Reitman’s “Ghostbusters: Afterlife.” He also reteamed with Coppola for 2020’s “On the Rocks,” co-starring Rashida Jones. Murray’s other credits include Anderson’s “Isle of Dogs,” “The Grand Budapest Hotel” and “Moonrise Kingdom.”

Ansari is repped by WME, 3Arts Entertainment, Ocean Avenue Entertainment and Yorn Levine. Murray is repped by Nochimson Law.

The Hollywood Reporter first announced the news.