Reilly to play fictional music legend in laffer

Columbia Pictures has acquired the comedy pitch “Walk Hard,” which Judd Apatow and Jake Kasdan will write and produce as a vehicle for John C. Reilly. Kasdan will direct.

Story is about fictional music legend Dewey Cox, whose life becomes as messy as the protagonists in “Ray” and “Walk the Line,” films that inspired the comedy. Reilly, who has sung and played harmonica in blues bands, last sang onscreen in “Chicago.”

“It’s an idea Jake had after seeing one too many musical biopics and feeling it was time to have some fun with that,” Reilly said. “My character is an amalgamation of a number of classic musician stories, tales of excess, highs and lows and bad behavior.”

Production begins early next year.

Col deal is the second in the last week for a comedy built around Reilly. Studio just booked Reilly, Will Ferrell and their “Talladega Nights” accomplices Adam McKay, Apatow and Jimmy Miller for a reprise in “Step Brothers,” a comedy to shoot next summer.

Col’s “Talladega” team of Matt Tolmach and Jonathan Kadin made both deals.

Reilly is currently starring in Mike White’s directing debut “Year of the Dog” and “Quebec,” the feature directing debut of “Pursuit of Happyness” scribe Steve Conrad.

Apatow just exec produced “The TV Set,” a comedy Kasdan wrote and directed.

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