Joseph Gordon-Levitt has been cast to play one of the world’s most beloved television personalities. Deadline reports that the actor is set to star as Johnny Carson in King of Late Night, a series about the Tonight Show legend.
King of Late Night will document Carson’s life as his career in entertainment moved him from New York to Los Angeles to the Las Vegas strip, and hosting The Tonight Show across three decades. The series aims to bridge the gap between Carson’s devout connection to his audience and his conflicting private life off-screen, where he was extremely introverted and reclusive to interviewers.
Jay Roach (Meet the Parents, Bombshell) will direct the film, working off a script written by Deadwood creator David Milch.
There have been a few attempts at a Carson biopic in the past, but none came to fruition. In 2017, Hulu premiered There’s… Johnny!, a 2017 dramedy about a young TV writer who lands a gig on The Tonight Show, though it focused heavily on the behind-the-scenes action. King of Late Night will mark the first proper retelling of Carson’s personal story.
Many of Gordon-Levitt’s recent projects have been based around true stories. Earlier this year, he starred as Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick in Showtime’s Super Pumped. He’ll also portray Christian cult leader Jim Jones in the forthcoming biopic White Night.