In a legendary pairing of new-school and old-school comedy actors, Seth Rogen and Bill Murray are teaming up for a new dramedy directed by Aziz Ansari titled Being Mortal. It marks the first time Rogen and Murray will appear in a film together. Cameras are expected to roll this April, with a release date sometime in 2023, according to a report by Deadline.
The film is based on the 2014 Atul Gawande book Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End, which explores how modern medicine techniques often run counter to its purpose to give people longer, more purposeful lives. Gawande tells real-life stories of patients and families facing the harsh realities of aging and death, and how doctors and modern medicine have the wrong priorities in treating the elderly facing their own mortality. It is not clear exactly which roles Seth Rogen and Bill Murray will have, but it is safe to assume the Saturday Night Live legend will play someone facing a health crisis. It is also not known if the story will be based on a true story from the book, or a fictional one using the book as inspiration. Gawande is a surgeon and a professor at Harvard Medical School.
As you might expect, Seth Rogen is a Bill Murray fan. In fact, Rogen voiced Murray’s Ghostbusters character of Peter Venkman for a 2020 reading of the original movie script at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Jason Reitman, son of original Ghostbusters director Ivan Reitman, organized the reading and spoke highly of Rogen portraying Murray’s character. “It’s the most crucial and tricky piece of casting. I knew we needed an actor whose rhythms were equally unique to Bill Murray’s and had that kind of a swagger,” he said.
The movie indicates a recent shift for Seth Rogen away from big-budget Hollywood projects. Despite the involvement of Murray, the film is likely modestly budgeted with Searchlight Pictures producing. After some big-budget flops, Rogen has been focusing on producing and appearing in TV series like Amazon’s The Boys and Hulu’s Pam & Tommy. He also recently blasted Hollywood’s Oscar ceremony, wondering aloud why people even care about the entertainment industry awarding itself.
Ansari, who rose to fame playing Tom Haverford on the NBC comedy series Parks and Recreation, also wrote the script and will appear in the film. This will mark his directorial debut for a feature film, having already directed episodes of his critically-acclaimed series Master of None for Netflix. That series earned him two Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series. He had previously appeared with Seth Rogen in the apocalyptic comedy This Is The End. Ansari will produce the film with Youree Henley. Before that, he will provide the voice of Darryl in The Bob’s Burgers Movie, opening this summer.
Seth Rogen is slated to appear this Thanksgiving in Steven Spielberg’s The Fablemans, playing a character based on Spielberg’s uncle. He will also be the voice of Donkey Kong in the Super Mario movie, with Chris Pratt voicing the iconic video game character. He is producing a new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated movie and a Darkwing Duck animated series for Disney.