Russell Brand to star in "Drop Dead Fred" redo

Tue Apr 28, 2009 8:44am EDT

Actor Russell Brand poses at the 13th annual GQ magazine ''Men of the Year'' party in Los Angeles November 18, 2008. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

Actor Russell Brand poses at the 13th annual GQ magazine ''Men of the Year'' party in Los Angeles November 18, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Mario Anzuoni

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Universal Pictures is resurrecting the 1991 comedy "Drop Dead Fred," this time as a starring vehicle for comedian Russell Brand.

The original starred Phoebe Cates as a wallflower who loses her job and husband during a lunch hour. Forced to move back with her mother, she's reunited with her childhood imaginary friend (Brit actor Rik Mayall), who promises to help but causes more havoc.

Produced by PolyGram and Working Title, the first "Fred" was critically drubbed and commercially unsuccessful. But it did achieve a certain cult status and is considered a film that fell short of its full potential.

The take for the new "Fred" is to make a film in the tone of "Beetlejuice," building a universe around the concept of imaginary friends. Brand would play the trouble-making pal.

Dennis McNicholas, a longtime writer on "Saturday Night Live" and one of the screenwriters of the upcoming feature "Land of the Lost," will pen the remake.

Former BBC host Brand made his U.S. screen debut in "Forgetting Sarah Marshall." He also appeared in "Bedtime Stories." He's in rehearsals for the Judd Apatow-produced "Get Him to the Greek" and will star in the remake of "Arthur."

(Editing by Sheri Linden at Reuters)

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