Fred Armisen may be poised to leave "Saturday Night Live" but the "Portlandia" creator's movie career is just heating up, as he's attached to star in the next feature from "Bad Santa" director Terry Zwigoff, TheWrap has learned.
Formerly known as "Justice For Al," the currently untitled comedy is being produced by Vincent Landay, who has produced all four of Spike Jonze's films.
Zwigoff will direct from a script he co-wrote with Melissa Axelrod, who served as his assistant on "Bad Santa" and a music consultant on "Ghost World."
Armisen will play Al Fishkin, an innocent man who is set up for a minor crime and placed under house arrest in his childhood home with his parents. With the help of his friends, Al plots to clear his name and get revenge on the man who framed him.
The script also features a romantic element, though the story is essentially about how growing up is harder the second time around.
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The filmmakers are currently casting supporting roles and are in the process of securing financing in anticipation of a late fall shoot.
Armisen has long been considered one of "Saturday Night Live's" most versatile performers, with his celebrity impersonations ranging from Barack Obama and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Steve Jobs and Prince. With Armisen poised to move on from "SNL" and IFC renewing its hit series "Portlandia" for two more seasons, the actor has arguably never been hotter.
While Armisen has appeared in several hit comedies since joining the sketch series including "Anchorman," "Easy A" and "The Dictator," he has never had the opportunity to anchor his own movie, though he'll soon reprise the role of Brainy in "The Smurfs 2," which Sony opens July 31.
Zwigoff, who hasn't directed a movie since 2006's "Art School Confidential," earned critical acclaim for his 1994 documentary "Crumb." He made his feature directorial debut with "Ghost World," which featured Scarlett Johansson in an early breakout role, and went on to direct cult favorite "Bad Santa," which grossed $60 million in the U.S. on a modest production budget.
Landay is no stranger to working with quirky filmmakers, having produced Spike Jonze's "Being John Malkovich," "Adaptation," "Where the Wild Things Are" and "Her," which stars Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Rooney Mara and Johansson. Warner Bros. will release "Her" in the heart of awards season on Nov. 20.
Armisen is represented by WME and Brillstein Entertainment Partners, while Zwigoff is repped by WME and attorney Warren Dern.