Craig Zobel tapped for 'Loudermilk'

Jon Heder to play Napoleon Dynamite-like oddball in film

Craig Zobel has been tapped to rewrite and direct the comedy "Loudermilk" for star Jon Heder at Rogue Pictures. Heder, his identical twin brother Dan and their older brother Doug are producing through their Greasy Entertainment shingle.

"Loudermilk" centers on a Napoleon Dynamite-like oddball who becomes contaminated with a substance that gives him what might arguably be considered superpowers. "That blessing does not come without its consequences and costs," Doug Heder said.

Universal bought "Loudermilk," an original idea from the Heders, as a pitch from writer Chris Bowman in 2006 as the first project of the Heder brothers' first-look deal. Ultimately, they took the project to Andrew Rona at Uni wing Rogue just before the writers strike, and Zobel came aboard to move it forward once the labor dispute was resolved.

Zobel co-wrote and directed the festival hit "Great World of Sound," which Magnolia Pictures released. The film was nominated for best first feature at the Independent Spirit Awards this year and best film at the 2007 Gotham Awards, where Zobel picked up the breakthrough director honor.

Said Doug Heder: "What's so cool about Craig is that his first film, 'Great World of Sound,' has this very cinema-verite style, and we want to bring that style into 'Loudermilk.' We want this to feel very real, even though it has a fantasy element to it."

Zobel, repped by Gersh, studied at the North Carolina School of the Arts with his "Sound" co-writer George Smith (also a Gersh client) and writer-director David Gordon Green, who's repped by CAA. Zobel worked as a production manager on several of Green's early films and appears to have absorbed the influence of Green's career path: earnest indie dramas followed by a midbudget mainstream comedy (in Green's case, this summer's upcoming "Pineapple Express").

Zobel also is a co-founder of the cult comedy site HomestarRunner.com.

The Heder clan is repped by CAA and Mosaic Media. They also have "Mr. Machine," a co-production with Imagine, set up at Universal, with Green and Danny McBride co-writing the script. And Mark Steven Johnson is adapting the supernatural comedy "Three Men Seeking Monsters," a Greasy co-production with Atchity Entertainment International, also at Universal.

" 'Loudermilk' is definitely intended to set the tone for Greasy Entertainment," Doug Heder said. "Our goal has always been to be the low- to midbudget-range comedies. We want to specialize in that field -- obviously tapping into Jon's core audience from 'Napoleon Dynamite' and 'Blades of Glory' but really specializing in those kind of character-driven, less-expensive comedies."
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