confessions of a dangerous mind tv series

Chuck Barris was the host of The Gong Show and creator of The Dating Game and The Newlywed Game. He was also an assassin for the CIA. Okay, that’s more than likely not true – but Barris himself made those claims in his autobiography Confessions of a Dangerous Mind. The CIA denied Barris was an agent – but that’s exactly what they would say, isn’t it? Of course, Barris himself also admitted he made the whole thing up. No matter – it was a good story, and it was turned into a twisted little film directed by George Clooney and starring Sam Rockwell as Barris. Now, the story is being adapted again – into an Apple TV+ series starring Justin Timberlake.

Deadline is reporting that “Apple won an auction and acquired the script to develop an hour-long drama series” based on Chuck Barris’s fictionalized autobiography Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, with Justin Timberlake set to star. Barris, best known as the host of The Gong Show and creator of The Dating Game and The Newlywed Game, published Confessions of a Dangerous Mind in 1984. Rather than a standard showbiz autobiography, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind had a whopper of a claim: in addition to creating and hosting TV shows, Barris was also an assassin for the CIA.

Barris didn’t let the rouse last very long – the same year the book was published, he also appeared on the Today Show and admitted: “No, I was never a CIA hitman. I never did those things. I once applied for the CIA, and while I was going through the process I got a job and went on television. But I had always wondered what would have happened if I had done both.”

This story was turned into an excellent movie in 2002, directed by George Clooney and featuring a script by Charlie Kaufman (although Kaufman has gone on record saying he doesn’t like the film because Clooney changed much of his screenplay). Sam Rockwell starred as Barris, and he turned in a wonderful, weird, morose performance. Here’s a trailer.

As for this new Apple TV+ series, I suppose it could be good, but I have to say: Timberlake feels completely wrong for this role. I think Timberlake can deliver a good performance – he’s memorable in his brief turn in Inside Llewyn Davis, and he’s pretty damn great in The Social Network. But going from Sam Rockwell to Justin Timberlake seems like a major step down.

The series – which is untitled for now, but let’s be real, they’re probably going to use the Confessions of a Dangerous Mind title again – comes from Miramax and Paramount Television Studios. David Hollander will be executive producer and serve as showrunner. Jon Worley, who wrote the pilot, is also serving as executive producer.

And now I’ll leave you with the final scene of the Confessions of the Dangerous Mind movie – a haunting, unsettling finale that I think about often, especially when I’m feeling particularly melancholy.

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