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In news that will surely get The Clash stuck in your head for days, the droll Bill Murray is hooking up with director Barry Levinson for what sounds like a heartuggin' new comedy, "Rock the Kasbah."
Murray will play the manager of a musician on a USO tour in Afghanistan. Things are looking pretty bleak for Murray's character -- he's broke and alone, and his passport is AWOL -- when he meets a girl with musical aspirations and the pipes to match. He brings her to Kabul to compete on "The Afghan Star," a TV show similar to "American Idol," minus Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey.
The reality show was the subject of a documentary several years ago, 2009's "Afghan Star," which follows several contestants on their bid for stardom. It's not as simple as impressing the judges, though; the contestants are heroes to the youth of Afghanistan, and in the case of two female singers, they're actually putting their lives in danger to pursue their art. It seems inevitable that the comedy will touch on the political implications of a young girl who wants to sing on national TV.
It should be an interesting project given the talent involved -- including "Scrooged" screenwriter Mitch Glazer, who penned the script for this new Murray vehicle.
"Bill Murray and Barry Levinson are the perfect team to capture the lunacy, heartbreak, and hope of this story," said producer Bill Block.
Levinson's most recent project was the eco-horror flick "The Bay," and his past credits include the political comedy "Wag the Dog," "Bugsy," "The Natural," "Good Morning, Vietnam," and "Rain Man," which snagged him an Oscar. Glazer's credits, on the other hand, are a bit spottier. He wrote the Cyndi Lauper vehicle "Off and Running," the Dickens adaptation "Great Expectations," and the forgettably awful "Passion Play," with Mickey Rourke and Megan Fox -- and, hey, Bill Murray!
"Rock the Kasbah" is still in the development stages, and will be shopped around at the Toronto International Film Festival this week.