"Get Him to the Greek" star Russell Brand is in talks to drop the microphone and pick up a sword in 20th Century Fox's action-comedy "Hawkwood," the studio has confirmed to TheWrap.
Fox and Chernin Entertainment just acquired the project and set Jared Stern ("Toy Story 3") to write the screenplay.
The film will follow the adventures of real-life swashbuckler John Hawkwood, a morally challenged but gifted swordsman who was paid to lead various European armies during the Renaissance wars.
Brand heard about the historical sword-for-hire and mentioned the mercenary to Peter Chernin's head of comedy Nicky Weinstock, who he had previously worked with on "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" when Weinstock was Judd Apatow's partner.
Weinstock researched Hawkwood and brought Stern into the fold, who knew Brand from revising the "Arthur" reboot that the English comic is set to star in.
I'm a fan of Brand but I have a hard time picturing him as anything less than a wacky, goofball character, let alone the lead in a possibly violent period piece. That said, I hear he's surprisingly impressive as Trinculo in Julie Taymor's "The Tempest," so I'm inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt here, especially since he seems to have already developed a rapport with Stern, who has become one of Fox's go-to talents.
The studio was already high on Stern because of his script for "Neighborhood Watch," a comedy that Shawn Levy is producing and Peter Segal may direct. Additionally, Stern worked on "Mr. Popper's Penguins" and "Pets," both projects that are in development and set up at Fox.
Brand will produce "Hawkwood" with Chernin and Dylan Clark, while Weinstock will exec produce.
The often outrageous actor will next be seen alongside his "Arthur" co-star Helen Mirren in "The Tempest," which will close the Venice Film Festival. He also provides the voice of the Easter Bunny in Illumination Entertainment's upcoming animated film "Hop."
Brand is represented by WME.