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Josh Gad to Play Roger Ebert in STX’s ‘Russ & Roger’

Josh Gad has closed a deal to play the legendary film critic Roger Ebert in the STX Entertainment comedy “Russ & Roger.”

Will Ferrell is on board to play sexploitation maestro Russ Meyer, with Michael Winterbottom directing. Gad had been in talks to star for some time, contingent on scheduling.

A debauched comedy in which truth is crazier than fiction, the film is an outrageous look at two no-holds-barred outsiders who defied the Hollywood establishment to make one of the first X-rated films ever released by a major movie studio (“Beyond the Valley of the Dolls”) — having the party of a lifetime in the process.

The film is being produced by Mark Amin’s Sobini Films and David Permut’s Permut Presentations along with Richard Waltzer. The script was penned by Emmy-winning “Saturday Night Live” and “The Simpsons” scribe Christopher Cluess, with Winterbottom, Neil Gibbons and Rob Gibbons doing a polish.

Production is set to start later this year.

Gad was most recently seen in Screen Gems’ “The Wedding Ringer” and Sony’s “Pixels” and is also lending his voice to the DreamWorks Animation pic “Me and My Shadow.”

He is also expected to voice a character in Sony Animation’s “Angry Birds” movie and will play LeFou in Disney’s live-action retelling of “Beauty and the Beast,” set to bow in March 2017.

He is repped by WME and Brillstein Entertainment.

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