'Claus' draws Vaughn, Dobkin

The “Wedding Crashers” team of Vince Vaughn and director David Dobkin are at the altar for “Fred Claus,” a Warner Bros. holiday comedy about Santa’s loser brother.

While negotiations are just beginning, deal should see Vaughn cement his status as a comedy-carrying star by reaching the $20 million salary mark for the first time. Dan Fogelman wrote the script and Dobkin is producing with Jessie Nelson.

Comedy revolves around Santa’s black-sheep brother, who heads back to the North Pole and gets a chance to redeem himself.

Talks of a reteam between Vaughn and Dobkin began right after the “Wedding Crashers” director divorced himself from Universal’s Adam Sandler-Kevin James comedy “I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry” (Daily Variety, Feb. 23). Vaughn previously worked with Dobkin on “Clay Pigeons.”

Dealmaking has just begun, but project is very likely to be Dobkin’s next.

Guided by UTA and Gold-Miller, Vaughn initially transitioned from “Swingers” to dramas, but he found his niche as a comic everyman in the sleeper “Dodgeball.” He followed with a showy role in “Mr. & Mrs. Smith” and then starred with Owen Wilson in “Wedding Crashers,” a comedy that grossed $209 million domestically for New Line.

Vaughn next stars opposite Jennifer Aniston in the Universal comedy “The Break Up.”

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