iO Chicago alums to write, direct “Del & Charna” movie

Red Crown Productions LLC announced it’s developing a biopic about Chicago improvising legends Del Close and Charna Halpern, Del & Charna.

Kay Cannon will direct the film, off a script from Rich Talarico and Alex Fendrich. All three are alums from The Second City, and Cannon and Talarico both studied and performed under Close and Halpern at improvOlympic, the Chicago theater group the famed duo founded in 1981.

Del & Charna tells the true story of the unlikely pairing of eccentric improv legend, Del Close and feisty comedy theater owner, Charna Halpern. The movie chronicles their tumultuous 19-year relationship, which saw them as friends, saviors, and soulmates. Together, these two helped each other overcome his addiction, financial ruin, and their own personal demons to ultimately establish improv as an art form, launching the careers of some of our most beloved comedians, writers, and directors. 

“Improv has been such an instrumental part of our lives that we’re incredibly honored to tell this special, unique story with the blessing of Charna Halpern. Dan and Yoni are amazing champions, and we’re excited to have Rich and Alex writing because they bring a wealth of knowledge to the project as former students of both Charna and Del,” said Cannon and Laverne McKinnon, co-founders of K&L Productions.

Cannon wrote the Pitch Perfect movies and directed Blockers. Talarico left Chicago for L.A. when he got a writing job on MADtv, and since has written on Key & Peele and Review for Comedy Central. Fendrich was an executive producer on Teachers, the TV Land sketch comedy series starring Chicago’s The Katydids.

“We are thrilled to bring the story of Del Close and Charna Halpern, two comedic icons to the screen and explore how their evolving relationship impacted the history of comedy and influenced future performers,” said Daniel Crown, founder of Red Crown Productions. “We look forward to partnering with Kay Cannon, whose comedic filmmaking has brought the genre to new heights.”

“My life with Del was always funny, sometimes scary and extremely profound. I’m overjoyed to finally share our story with the world,” said Halpern.

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

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