U kicks in on soccer pitch

Ferrell to star; Benvenuti, Rudnick to write script

In a near seven-figure deal, Universal Pictures has bought a soccer-themed pitch for a comedy that will topline “Old School” star Will Ferrell. Leo Benvenuti and Steve Rudnick (“Space Jam,” “The Santa Clause”) are penning the script.

Universal’s Mary Parent and Holly Bario moved swiftly to head off competition for the 2004 slot of the suddenly hot Ferrell, after “Old School” passed the $70 million gross mark.

Ferrell recently completed work on the New Line comedy “Elf,” which he co-wrote; pic is set for a November release. Ferrell begins production this summer on the DreamWorks comedy “Anchor Man: The Legend of Ron Burgundy,” which he wrote with former “Saturday Night Live” head writer Adam McKay. McKay’s making his directing debut on that film.

The soccer comedy is expected to be ready to follow that pic. It will be produced by Jimmy Miller and Mosaic Media, which manages Ferrell and the scribes. Deal is the first for the scripting team of Benvenuti and Rudnick since they moved from Endeavor to WMA. Ferrell’s repped by UTA.

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