Actress joins McBride, Franco in Universal comedy

Natalie Portman will star with Danny McBride and James Franco in “Your Highness,” a Universal Pictures comedy that begins production in July in Ireland. David Gordon Green (“Pineapple Express”) is directing.

Scott Stuber produces through his U-based banner.

McBride, who wrote the script with Ben Best, plays a lazy, arrogant prince who, with his brother (Franco), must complete a quest to save the kingdom and his brother’s fiancee. Portman will play a warrior princess with whom the lazy prince falls in love.

McBride and Best set up the project with U and Stuber last year. Jon Mone and Andy Davis are exec producers.

Portman is currently starring with Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Rainn Wilson in the Spencer Susser-directed “Hesher,” which marks Portman’s feature debut as a producer under her banner, Handsomecharlie Films.

She will next be seen in the Jim Sheridan-directed “Brothers,” with Tobey Maguire and Jake Gyllenhaal. That pic is due out in December. Portman just wrapped the Don Roos-directed “Love and Other Impossible Pursuits.”

McBride and Best are exec producers and co-stars on the raunchy HBO comedy “Eastbound and Down,” and they also co-wrote 2006 feature “The Foot Fist Way” with helmer Jody Hill.

Portman is repped by CAA and Brillstein Entertainment Partners.

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