'Hangover' star joins Universal comedy

Universal Pictures has acquired the spec script “Central Intelligence” as a star vehicle for Ed Helms. Project becomes the second Helms comedy to take root this summer on the heels of “The Hangover.”

Ike Barinholtz and Dave Stassen’s script revolves around an accountant who’s thrown into the world of international espionage after reconnecting with an old friend through Facebook.

Principato/Young’s Peter Principato and Paul Young are producing. Matt Berenson and Allen Fischer are exec producers. Joel Zadak will be co-producer.

Helms next stars in “Cedar Rapids,” an Alexander Payne-produced comedy to be directed by Miguel Arteta. Fox Searchlight is closing the deal for the film that will shoot in October, when Helms is on hiatus from NBC sitcom “The Office.”

Helms, who will be exec producer, plays an insurance salesman who heads cross country to attend a convention in hopes of saving the jobs of his co-workers.

Playing the accountant in “Central Intelligence,” the dentist from “The Hangover,” the paper salesman from “The Office” and the insurance agent in “Cedar Rapids,” Helms is creating a niche as the bland blue-collar professional who rises to the occasion.

Helms will reprise his dentist role in the Todd Phillips-directed sequel to “The Hangover,” which is slated to begin production in fall 2010.

Helms is repped by CAA and Principato/Young, while the writers are repped by APA and Principato/Young.

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