Based on Atul Gawande‘s non-fiction book of the same name, Being Mortal will mark Aziz Ansari’s first foray as a filmmaker. As a result, the comedian-turned-movie-maker is rounding up quite a cast for his leap into the director’s chair. Shortly after it was announced that Bill Murray and Seth Rogen would join the cast alongside Ansari, it has been revealed that Keke Palmer is also slated to appear in the upcoming film in a currently-undisclosed role. While Palmer and Ansari have previously worked together as voice actors in the Ice Age franchise, Being Mortal will serve as their first live-action collaboration.
Following her breakout starring role in 2006’s indie darling, Akeelah and the Bee, Palmer has forged a distinguished career for herself as a film-TV actress, singer, and television personality. She played the titular role in Nickelodeon‘s True Jackson, VP and later appeared in Scream Queens, Berlin Station, and talks shows like Just Keke and Strahan, Sara, and Keke, the latter for which she was Emmy-nominated. Last year, Palmer won an Emmy for her performance in Turnt Up with the Taylors. As a film actress, Palmer appeared in Hustlers, Joyful Noise, The Longshots, and Madea’s Family Reunion, and she starred in this year’s Alice, which she also executive produced. Next, she’ll be seen in Jordan Peele‘s Nope and she’ll be heard in Pixar‘s Lightyear.
Though details surrounding the Searchlight Pictures production remain limited, Gawande‘s book, Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End, explores death and aging, and how the medical field has historically failed both, as The Hollywood Reporter noted in their original report. In the past, Searchlight noted that the new project will include “insightful humor and pathos” into otherwise morbid topics, and therefore find the humanity therein. Certainly, that sounds like a lofty way to make your directorial debut. But as the Parks and Recreation actor has demonstrated with his stand-up and his acclaimed work on Netflix‘s Master of None, Ansari is unafraid to challenge himself and push himself and his viewers, creatively and comically.
Along with directing the forthcoming film, Ansari adapted the screenplay and is producing the feature with Youree Henley. He is also slated to play a role. As it was previously reported, production is expected to begin later this month, and it sounds like Searchlight has high hopes for this new movie. The company is aiming to release the movie theatrically sometime in 2023, which is notable at a time when the Disney-owned company has pushed most of its features onto streaming services like Hulu in lieu of a traditional cinematic rollout. Suffice it to say, they’re hoping that Ansari‘s feature debut might prove to be a critical and commercial smash, with some potential awards season cache to boot. But, of course, that’s purely speculation at this point.
Expect more updates to arrive regarding Ansari‘s Being Mortal in the days to come, especially as production takes shape ahead of its anticipated 2023 release.