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After his untimely death in 1998, Phil Hartman's legacy still reigns as one of comedic excellence. Yet his life story before his halcyon days at SNL is not as widely known to the public at large. That's soon to change with production of the biopic Nice Guy Phil looking to gear up soon, and it's landed the talents of actor/director Jason Priesley taking the helm.
It was recently announced that the Jonas Chernick script had not only landed a director, but also a star in Daran Norris. Norris has previously been seen as Cliff McCormack on Veronica Mars, but the actor is probably best known for being a huge part in one of the fields Hartman himself was most remembered for: voice overs. While The Hollywood Reporter has listed him as starring in Disney's animated picture Bolt, looking at Norris' resume showcases some roles that you probably have heard.
Most notably, Daran Norris has voiced such characters as Timmy's dad on The Fairy Odd-Parents, as well as played parts in series like Star Wars: The Clone Wars, T.U.F.F. Puppy, and most recently the Netflix original Turbo Fast. With a resume as varied as Phil Hartman's appearances as a vocal talent in such shows as The Simpson and Dennis The Menace, it's a rather wonderful coincidence to have a fellow voice-over artist playing the role of the Canadian comedian. Not to mention, if you really look at the two men, you can see that Norris won't have to do too much of a physical transformation to look like Hartman on camera.
Turning our focus back on the director's chair, Jason Priestly isn't a name that you'd probably think of when you try to fill the position of director. However, actually taking a look at his resume tells a different story, with numerous TV directing credits and a feature film under his belt. With that in mind, Nice Guy Phil seems like a natural progression in Priestly's career as a director, as his knowledge of a TV set will help with capturing a lot of Phil Hartman's work experience.
While the project is still in its early phases, Nice Guy Phil already sounds like it could be a powerhouse film in the making. The story of Phil Hartman's life and times are rich for dramatic tension, but more importantly enough time has passed that fans and friends alike can truly appreciate seeing it be told. There's no production schedule or release date set for Nice Guy Phil, but when we hear new information, we'll report back as soon as possible.