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Aziz Ansari to Direct Unnamed Dramedy Based on Atul Gawade’s 2014 Nonfiction Book Starring Bill Murray

Aziz Ansari to Direct Unnamed Dramedy Based on Atul Gawade’s 2014 Nonfiction Book Starring Bill Murray

  • The Indian American actor and comedian who wrote the script and will co-produce and also star in the Searchlight film slated for a 2023 release.

Aziz Ansari, a two-time Emmy-winning stand-up comedian, actor, writer, director and producer, is making his feature directorial debut with an untitled dramedy for Searchlight, based on Atul Gawande’s “Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End.” Ansari will star in the film along with Bill Murray. Gawande’s 2014 non-fiction book tackles the hardest challenge of his profession and examines how medicine can not only improve life but also the process of its ending.

Gawade is a renowned general and endocrine surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, and a professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School.

Gawande’s book addresses end-of-life care, hospice care, and also contains his reflections and personal stories. He suggests that medical care should focus on well-being rather than survival. It was named a ‘Best Book of the Year’ by The Washington Post, The New York Times Book Review, NPR, and Chicago Tribune. Many noted that one of the most important takeaways from the book is the importance of talking with your loved ones to know yours and their wishes.

In its review, The New York Times said that along with being “a personal meditation on how we can better live with age-related frailty, serious illness and approaching death,” Gawande’s “Being Mortal” is “also a call for a change in the philosophy of health care. The Times says “Gawande writes that members of the medical profession, himself included, have been wrong about what their job is. Rather than ensuring health and survival, it is “to enable well-being.”

The Guardian called the book “written with his customary warmth and panache, a plea to the medical profession and the rest of us to shift away from simply fighting for longer life towards fighting for the things that make life meaningful.” And Kirkus called it “a sensitive, intelligent and heartfelt examination of the processes of aging and dying.”

Ansari wrote the script and will produce alongside Youree Henley, with Taylor Friedman and Cameron Chidsey who are overseeing the project for Searchlight. Details about the film’s plot and the characters to be played by Ansari and Murray have not been disclosed. The film is slated for theatrical release in 2023.

“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 joint statement to entertainment portals like Deadline and The Hollywood Reporter. “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.”

Ansari is most known for creating the Netflix series “Master of None,” which is loosely based on the Indian American’s real-life experiences. He plays the role of Dev, a New York-based actor who is struggling to identify what he really wants, both personally and professionally. 

His most recent comedy special, “Nightclub Comedian,” for Netflix, premiered on Jan 25. In the half-hour special he addresses all that has happened since 2019, being back in New York City after moving to London, his reactions to how the world and society have changed because of COVID, anti-vaxxers and more. He is more self-reflective and empathetic these days and he encourages everyone to do the same, especially to people with different views than our own who he believes are simply “trapped in a different algorithm.” 

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His 2019 Netflix special “Right Now,” was nominated for a Grammy for the Best Comedy Album. Directed by Spike Jonze, it addressed the anonymous sexual misconduct accusation made against Ansari in 2018. “It made me think about a lot, and I hope I’ve become a better person,” he told the audience. 

In January 2018, Ansari was accused by a 22-year-old photographer who claimed that the comedian forced her into having oral sex with him and engaged in other forms of sexual misconduct during the night they spent together. In a story published on the now-defunct website, a woman with the pseudonym Grace described a date with Ansari during which she felt he had been overly aggressive, and had pressured her into sex.”

In December, he announced his engagement to Danish forensic data scientist Serena Skov Campbell. It can be speculated that he broke the news during the set that’s part of the new Netflix special. 

The couple was first spotted at the US Open in 2018. It isn’t clear if the two were dating at the time, but they were seen smiling and laughing. At a point, Ansari was seen whispering in her ear and waving at the crowd on Sept. 3. At the time, Campbell’s mother had confirmed to Daily Mail that it was indeed her daughter who was spotted with Ansari.

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