Jody Hill to write, direct comedy about mall cop

Seth Rogen has signed on to star in the comedy “Observe and Report” for Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures.

Film, which will be directed by Jody Hill, begins shooting in April, marking Rogen’s next project after he wraps Kevin Smith’s “Zack and Miri Make a Porno” for the Weinstein Co.

“Observe and Report” centers on Ronnie Barnhardt, a deluded, self-important head of mall security who squares off in a turf war against the local cops. Hill penned the screenplay.

Donald De Line is producing; Andrew Haas and Marty Ewing exec produce.

Columbia Pictures also has a mall cop comedy in pre-production. That Kevin James starrer, scheduled to start shooting next month and tentatively titled “Mall Cop,” is expected to be a more family-friendly laffer, while “Observe and Report” will likely be more ribald, akin to recent Rogen efforts such as “Knocked Up” and “Superbad.”

“It will definitely go to the edge,” De Line said. “We love (Hill’s) sensibility.”

Hill co-wrote, directed, produced and appeared in R-rated comedy “The Foot Fist Way,” which Paramount Vantage will bow May 30 in New York and Los Angeles before expanding it June 6.

Rogen and frequent collaborator Judd Apatow saw Hill’s “The Foot Fist Way,” which unspooled at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival, and invited him to the set of “Knocked Up.” Rogen and Hill struck up a friendship, and Hill played a small role in “Superbad.”

Rogen next stars in Sony’s “Pineapple Express,” which he co-wrote, to be released Aug. 8.

Rogen is repped by UTA, manager Marsha McManus and attorney Fred Toczek.

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