New Line Officially Lands Chris Farley Biopic Package With Paul Walter Hauser Starring And Josh Gad Directing

After Deadline broke the news last week that New Line was in pole position to land the package A Chris Farley Story, the studio made it official today, having acquired the biopic starring Paul Walter Hauser as the legendary comedian. Josh Gad directs, with Lorne Michaels and Erin David producing via Broadway Video.

The pitch is based on the book by Farley’s brother Tom Farley Jr. and Tanner Colby and will be adapted by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber. This marks the second major package Warner Bros. has landed this week with the main studio acquiring Avengelyne which is being developed as a star vehicle for Margot Robbie.

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The film would tell the story of one of the great comic actors of his generation. Getting his start in the second heyday of Saturday Night Live, where Farley would join an ensemble of all-time SNL greats including Adam Sandler, David Spade, Phil Hartman and Rob Schneider. From the start, Farley stood out with his amazing physical comedy skills, delivering iconic sketches like his “Van Down by the River” performances as motivational speaker Matt Foley or trying out as a Chippendales dancer with Patrick Swayze that live in SNL lore.

His success on the show would translate over to the big screen, where Farley soon would join other A-list of ’90s comedians with such hit films as Tommy Boy, Black Sheep and Beverly Hills Ninja. After being sober for three years, he would relapse and fall back in to drugs and alcohol, dying from an overdose in 1997. His death at 33 shook not just the industry but all lovers of film and comedy and immediately drew comparisons to fellow SNL alum John Belushi, who died at the same age in 1982.

For Hauser, this is the type of role he has been driving toward as his career has risen rapidly following his scene-stealing role as Tonya Harding’s bodyguard in I, Tonya. He has followed that up with leading roles in Clint Eastwood’s Richard Jewell and most recently his star-making turn in Black Bird, which earned him an Emmy.

As for Gad, this would mark a big move for him as the actor takes his first step in the directing realm, tackling the story of a person who surely inspired his own comedic aspirations over the years.

Neustadter and Weber’s long list of credits include The Disaster Artist, The Fault in Our Stars and (500) Days of Summer.

Hauser is repped by CAA, Artists First and Schreck Rose Dapello; Gad is represented by CAA, Sugar 23 and Johnson Shapiro Slewett & Kole; Farley and Colby are represented by Verve; Broadway Video is represented by CAA; and Neustadter and Weber are represented by UTA and Kaplan/Perrone.

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