Kathryn Hahn Will No Longer Be Playing Joan Rivers In “The Comeback Girl,” Because No One Obtained The Life Rights For The Project

October 26, 2021 / Posted by:

That’s one way to dodge the question about whether a non-Jewish actress should be playing a Jewish entertainment industry icon. You simply just scrap the whole project! This may seem a little excessive, but given the circumstances, was kind of the only direction this project was headed, apparently. And it reportedly had nothing to do with the fact that Kathryn Hahn is more familiar with the 14 stations of the cross than the 15 steps of the seder. Showtime was reportedly working on a limited series called The Comeback Girl, which would follow Joan Rivers after she was fired from her late-night talk show, but they’re not working on it anymore. Because they forgot a major component of a legitimate biopic: you kind of have to clear the legal hurdles first, which they didn’t.

I say “legitimate biopic,” because we all know that technically anyone can make a movie or a series based on a famous person’s life. The unauthorized biopic is practically the bread to Lifetime’s butter, the butter. But in The Comeback Girl’s case, it was going to reference many very specific, niche moments from Joan’s career and life. Like the talk show she was fired from, The Late Show with Joan Rivers, the death of her husband Edgar Rosenberg, her messy feud with Johnny Carson and subsequent icing out from The Tonight Show, her career resurgence with the E! channel and on the red carpet of awards shows like the Golden Globe Awards. And of course, there are Joan’s catchphrases like “Can we talk?“. So you would have thought that Showtime and the producers of The Comeback Girl would have obtained the rights to said girl’s life, but they did about as much legal legwork as a Lifetime production. via Variety:

Because of issues around the life rights of Joan Rivers, [The Comeback Girl] isn’t moving forward. The Comeback Girl was announced last month in Variety. It had been in development at Showtime, and was to be produced by Warner Bros. Television, Atlas Entertainment and Berlanti Productions. Hahn was attached as its star and executive producer, and Greg Berlanti was going to direct and executive produce the series, which was based on a spec script by Cosmo Carlson. Rivers’ life rights are held by her daughter, Melissa Rivers, [and] hadn’t been secured by producers.

That would explain why David O. Russell was able to so easily throw Joan Rivers into the 2015 biopic, Joy. Melissa played her mother in the film, and since Melissa holds her late mother’s life rights, not too many hoops needed jumping through there. Melissa was her mother’s only child, and a spokesperson for Melissa Rivers told Variety that there are no plans for any projects about her mother’s life.

As for what the future holds for that The Comeback Girl script, Variety only says that the life rights weren’t obtained from Melissa Rivers. But they don’t specify whether that’s because Melissa told them to fuck off or because they just didn’t think to ask. If it’s the latter, then that’s pretty bold and gutsy of them to roll full steam ahead and use Joan’s whole identity and shtick for some prestige television material. Amazon has tons of money and lawyers, and even they played it safe and changed her name to “Midge Maisel.

Pics: Wenn.com/FayesVision

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