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  • Friday, Oct. 14, 2016
"The Comedian" To Make World Premiere At AFI Fest
Taylor Hackford, director and EP of "The Comedian."
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The American Film Institute (AFI) announced that the world premiere of Sony Pictures Classics and Cinelou Films’ The Comedian (director Taylor Hackford) will play as a Special Screening of AFI Fest 2016 presented by Audi. The film stars Oscar winner Robert De Niro, along with Leslie Mann, Oscar nominee Danny DeVito, Edie Falco, Veronica Ferres, Charles Grodin, Oscar winner Cloris Leachman, Patti LuPone and Oscar nominee Harvey Keitel. Written by Art Linson, directed by Oscar winner Taylor Hackford and produced by Art Linson, John Linson, Mark Canton, Courtney Solomon and Hackford, The Comedian will screen on Friday, November 11, at the Egyptian Theatre.

“AFI Fest has always been one of the best places to launch a major film,” said Michael Barker, Sony Pictures Classics co-president. “Taylor Hackford’s accomplished and biting comedy is a perfect premiere for the festival. Robert De Niro and Leslie Mann have never been better, and the supporting cast is constantly surprising.”

In The Comedian, an aging comic icon, Jackie (De Niro) has seen better days. Despite his efforts to reinvent himself and his comic genius, the audience only wants to know him as the former television character he once played. Already a strain on his younger brother (DeVito) and his wife (LuPone), Jackie is forced to serve out a sentence doing community service for accosting an audience member. While there, he meets Harmony (Mann), the daughter of a sleazy Florida real estate mogul (Keitel), and the two find inspiration in one another, resulting in surprising consequences.

As Previously Announced
The Opening Night Gala will be the World Premiere of Rules Don’t Apply (director Warren Beatty) on Thursday, November 10. Isabelle Huppert will be honored with a Tribute on Sunday, November 13, followed by a Centerpiece Gala screening of Elle (director Paul Verhoeven). Annette Bening will be honored with a Tribute on Wednesday, November 16, followed by a Centerpiece Gala screening of 20th Century Women (director Mike Mills).

In celebration of the 30th edition of AFI Fest, a trio of diverse female trailblazers are featured in both the festival’s 2016 key art and programming lineup. AFI Fest will spotlight Dorothy Dandridge, the first African American nominated for a Best Actress Academy Award; Ida Lupino, a pioneering director, writer, producer and actress who became the first woman to direct a film noir; and Anna May Wong, the first Chinese-American actress to rise to international prominence.

AFI Fest takes place November 10–17, 2016, in the heart of Hollywood. Screenings, Galas and other events will be held at the TCL Chinese Theatre, the TCL Chinese 6 Theatres, the Egyptian Theatre and The Hollywood Roosevelt. The full festival lineup and schedule will be unveiled in October.