Spacey gets naughty in 'Claus'

Kevin Spacey has been set by Warner Bros. to play the villain in “Joe Claus,” the David Dobkin-directed comedy starring Vince Vaughn and Paul Giamatti.

Pic was originally set up as “Fred Claus,” but the studio encountered title clearance problems.

The role marks back-to-back WB bad guys for Spacey, who plays Lex Luthor in summer’s Bryan Singer-directed “Superman Returns.”

“Joe Claus” shoots in the fall in London, which is convenient for Spacey because he can continue his work as artistic director of the Old Vic. Spacey is already set to star in an Old Vic stage revival of “Moon for the Misbegotten.”

Vaughn stars as the loser brother of Santa who joins his sibling at the North Pole.

John Michael Higgins, who just worked with Vaughn in “The Break Up,” has joined the cast as Santa’s head elf. Judi Dench will also star in the film, which was written by Dan Fogelman. Jessie Nelson produces with Dobkin.

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