Bana, Schwartzman, Hill are 'Funny People'

Judd Apatow has rounded out the cast and picked a title and start date for his next directing vehicle.

Eric Bana, Jason Schwartzman and Jonah Hill have joined the ensemble of “Funny People,” which will be co-financed by Universal Pictures and Columbia Pictures, with Universal distributing worldwide next summer.

Apatow set Adam Sandler, Seth Rogen and Leslie Mann in the comedy earlier this year (Daily Variety, March 10).

The filmmaker, who last wrote and directed “Knocked Up,” was deliberately vague about subject matter, allowing only that the movie takes place in the world of standup comedy and the focus is on a comedian who has a near-death experience.

Pic’s a co-production of Apatow Prods. and Happy Madison, and Apatow is producing with Clayton Townsend and Barry Mendel. Jack Giarraputo, Rogen and Evan Goldberg are exec producers. Production begins in mid-September in Los Angeles.

Bana began his career as a comic on the standup circuit in Australia and starred in the sketch comedy series “Full Frontal” and “The Eric Bana Show” before remaking himself as a dramatic actor. Bana most recently shot “Star Trek” and “The Time Traveler’s Wife.”

Hill starred in the Apatow-produced “Superbad” and appeared in “Knocked Up” and “The 40 Year-Old Virgin.”

Apatow and Sandler teamed with Robert Smigel to write the script for current release “You Don’t Mess With the Zohan.” Apatow is also producer of the Adam McKay-directed “Step Brothers,” starring Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly, and the stoner comedy “Pineapple Express.” Col releases “Step Brothers” on July 25 and “Pineapple Express” on Aug. 8.

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