Newcomer joins Panettiere in teen comedy

Newcomer Paul Rust will star in the Fox Atomic teen comedy “I Love You, Beth Cooper.” Hayden Panettiere has already boarded the film as the eponymous character.

Jack Carpenter, Lauren Storm and Lauren London have also joined the project, which follows the adventures of a geeky high school valedictorian (Rust) who decides he has nothing to lose by making a play for the popular cheerleader (Panettiere) and declares his love for her during his graduation speech.

Chris Columbus will direct the film, which he is also producing through his 1492 Pictures banner. Michael Barnathan and Mark Radcliffe also produce.

Project is based on a novel by former “Simpsons” scribe Larry Doyle, who penned the screenplay. Shooting is scheduled to start next month in Vancouver.

Rust’s credits include New Line’s upcoming comedy “Semi-Pro.”

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