After eight seasons as a cast member, Bill Hader is leaving Saturday Night Live. Hader tells The NY Times, "It was a hard decision, but it has to happen at some point. It got to a point where I said, 'Maybe it’s just time to go.'" In the Times announcement, Lorne Michaels recalls a young Bill Hader reminding him of Dan Aykroyd. "In terms of intelligence and talent, he was in that same tradition. He was so completely committed to the art of it and enough a student of it that there’s something strikingly original. He didn't explode onto the air, but gradually he found his voice, and that became a huge thing." Hader's last episode will be this Saturday's show, hosted by Ben Affleck. Hader and Michaels say not to expect a big goodbye for Hader a la the Mick Jagger serenade Kristen Wiig received on the show last year.
With head writer/Weekend Update anchor Seth Meyers leaving SNL in December to take over for Jimmy Fallon as the host of Late Night, the Times hypothesizes that Hader leaving the show "could be part of a larger exodus." Lorne Michaels didn't reveal anything when asked if longtime cast members Fred Armisen and Jason Sudeikis were departing. He responded, "I don't think so. I think they're making their decisions and we'll know soon enough." Sudeikis has movies Horrible Bosses 2 and Tumbledown lined up to shoot in the late summer and October, respectively, both of which would conflict with the new season of SNL, while Armisen already has another show on the air, IFC's Portlandia, which he could depart to focus on full-time.
It was also announced that Hader has a new movie, in which he plays the leading role, in the works. THR reports that Hader is talks to star in Lawless, an independent comedy from producer Mike White (his first project since his HBO series Enlightened was canceled) and writers Jarrad Paul and Andrew Mogel (Yes Man). Here's the plot description for Lawless:
The story centers on a high school reunion committee chairman in Middle America, still searching for acceptance, who has to do whatever it takes to get the most popular guy from high school to show up to their 20th reunion. Unfortunately, that guy is now an actor in commercials, so the committee chairman flies to L.A. and finds himself in the arcane world of celebrities.
It sounds like a really funny idea, and it's exciting to see Hader get one of his first front-and-center starring roles in a movie. This will be Hader's second leading man role, following The Skeleton Twins, an upcoming independent comedy-drama that he stars in with Kristen Wiig. Lawless is expected to shoot this summer in Atlanta during the season that used to be Hader's SNL hiatus each year.