Universal Picks Up Renaissance Men

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Universal Pictures has picked up Renaissance Men, a comedy Rainn Wilson is co-writing with fellow actor Matt Ross (“Big Love”). Wilson, who snagged his first Emmy nomination for his work on NBC’s “The Office,” also will topline and produce the feature with Jay Roach.

The story follows two down-and-out community theater actors who think they’ve accidentally killed a co-star. In a panic, they go on the lam and hide out in a Renaissance fair.

“It’s a bit like ‘We’re No Angels,’ only funny, and in a Renaissance fair,” Wilson said.

“(Renaissance fairs) are fascinating,” Wilson said. “Everyone has been to one, but no one really knows what makes them tick. The great thing about them is how seriously people take their duties at the fair or as their characters, whether they are doing swordfights or selling giant turkey legs. And I think that the best comedy comes from people taking ridiculous circumstances extremely seriously.”

Wilson is writing Bonzai Shadowhands, a ninja comedy that Jason Reitman will direct for Fox Searchlight. Like that project, this one will feature characters that are failures, something that is a Wilson trademark.

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