Ben Stiller is in early talks to direct The Trial of the Chicago 7.

Deep breaths. Deep breaths.

Okay, this is a project that I am excited about in the same way that Twilight fans are excited about Clay Aiken coming to town. This is a movie that I’ve been dying to see ever since I first learned about the 1968 Chicago Democratic National Convention riots. If I had ever gotten into filmmaking, it would have been to make this movie.

And now Ben Stiller is in line to direct it.

Well, let’s look at it this way: Ben Stiller the director is doing well. Zoolander is a classic, and Tropic Thunder was great. That last film also showed that he can handle bigger productions. Now, neither of these show that he can do a serious movie (unless it’s about a smack abusing ALF writer), but I bet there’s a good dose of comedy running through Aaron Sorkin’s script (which is based on the occasionally funny documentary Chicago 10). There’s a lot that’s funny about the trial of the Chicago 8, along with the outrage.

And it’s really important to separate the Ben Stiller who collects paychecks on garbage like Night at the Museum from the guy who directs movies. And on top of that, as a professional loudmouth on the internet, I should be using my pulpit to congratulate the guy for trying to expand his range.

It’s not ideal news (that would have been Paul Greengrass, who already told me he wasn’t able to do the film), but it’s not the worst news ever. And maybe it’s the beginning of a new stage in Ben Stiller’s career, one where I don’t have to look at my DVD of The Ben Stiller Show with a vague sense of shame.