Any Person Living or Dead

If you had the ability to travel through time and unite some of the most famous minds in history to solve the world’s problems, what do you think might happen when they met?

Kumail Nanjiani is about to find out. He’s scored the lead role in a new movie called Any Person, Living or Dead with that premise. He’ll play a reclusive scientist who invents his own time machine – but his big “meeting of the minds” doesn’t go according to plan.

Kumail Nanjiani is on a roll. The actor/comedian earned an Oscar nomination for writing The Big Sick a couple of years ago, and since then, he’s appeared in four movies, three TV series, and two video games – and that’s not even counting his ongoing starring role in HBO’s Silicon Valley, his appearance in Jordan Peele’s new reboot of The Twilight Zone, his soon-to-be-released buddy action comedy film Stuber opposite Dave Bautista, or his upcoming Apple TV series Little America. But Any Person, Living or Dead puts Nanjiani back in the spotlight as the lead role, and it sounds like it could be his funniest project yet.

Here’s the synopsis (via Deadline):

The story follows a brilliant reclusive scientist who, using his homemade time machine, gathers a roundtable of the greatest minds in history (Shakespeare, George Washington, Aristotle, etc.) to solve all of humanity’s problems. Unfortunately, his plan fails to take into account language barriers, ancient racism and the tendency of medieval men to commit murder. Instead of learning from these Great Men of History, our hero has no choice but to hunt them down and blast them to the past before they can ruin our future.

This is such a fantastic concept for a movie (almost like a darker version of Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure), and Nanjiani seems like the perfect candidate to play a modern man caught in this ludicrous whirlwind.

The script will be written by Simon Rich, based on his short story which was recently published in a book called Hits and Misses. Rich, who was previously a writer at Pixar and Saturday Night Live, also created the brilliant and laugh-out-loud funny FXX series Man Seeking Woman and the new TBS comedy Miracle WorkersJonathan Krisel, an executive producer of shows like Baskets and Portlandia (where he worked with Nanjiani), is set to make his feature directorial debut with this movie.

In an old interview, Rich described the way he approaches storytelling. “I think of myself as the literary equivalent of a songwriter,” he said. “When I’m writing, I ask myself, ‘Will it have a good hook?'” Well, he certainly nailed the hook for this one, and I can’t wait to see how it turns out.

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