Columbia plucks ‘Pineapple’

Rogen, Franco to topline 'Express'

Columbia Pictures is climbing aboard “The Pineapple Express,” enlisting David Gordon Green to helm the laffer to star Seth Rogen and James Franco. Judd Apatow and Shauna Robertson will produce.

Script by Rogen and Evan Goldberg follows a pair of toking buddies who get mixed up with a drug gang. Production is slated to start early next year.

Rogen and Goldberg are also exec producing.

Project is something of a departure for Green, whose helming credits to date have been indie dramas, including “Undertow” for United Artists and “All the Real Girls” for Sony Pictures Classics. Green most recently wrapped “Snow Angels,” an adaptation of Stewart O’Nan’s novel starring Kate Beckinsale and Sam Rockwell, and he’s attached to direct “A Confederacy of Dunces,” with Will Ferrell attached to star.

“This project is an opportunity to plant an absurd buddy comedy in a rough-and-tumble action movie,” Green said. “I’ve always been a sucker for the genre and hungry to fire up a comedy where characters don’t get lost in their own concept.”

Rogen, whose previous credits include “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” and “Anchorman,” recently wrapped Col high school comedy “Super Bad” and last summer lensed Universal parenting laffer “Knocked Up,” both produced by Apatow.

Franco, who will continue his villain role in “Spider-Man 3,” most recently starred in “Annapolis” for Disney, MGM’s “Flyboys” and 20th Century Fox’s “Tristan & Isolde.”

Apatow, Rogen and Goldberg are repped by UTA, Green by CAA and Franco by Endeavor.

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