Universal readies ‘Handbook’

Comedy stars Jonah Hill, Jason Schwartzman

In a seven-figure deal, Universal Pictures has acquired “The Adventurer’s Handbook,” a script for a comedy that will star Jonah Hill and Jason Schwartzman.

Hill, who built momentum starring in Judd Apatow projects like “Superbad” and “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” served as the catalyst for the new film. He wrote the script with Matt Spicer and Max Winkler, inspired by the book by Mick Conefrey.

Hill also enlisted Akiva Schaffer, who is negotiating to direct.

Schaffer is best known for teaming with Andy Samberg and Jorma Taccone as Lonely Island, the trio behind a series of digital shorts and musicvideos for “Saturday Night Live.”

Schaffer, who has directed many “SNL” episodes, made his feature directing debut on the Samberg starrer “Hot Rod.”

“The Adventurer’s Handbook” is a comedy in which a quartet of pals go on a global adventure, inspired by the hardcore stories of explorers whose tales are chronicled in Conefrey’s book.

The plan is to start production later this year; Hill, Spicer and Winkler will be exec producers.

Three studios bid on the comedy. Hill and Schwartzman just worked together in the Apatow-directed Universal/Columbia co-production “Funny People.”

Hill next stars in the U comedy “Get Him to the Greek,” while Schwartzman next shoots the HBO series “Bored to Death.”

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