Reilly gets his 'Freak' on with Uni

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John C. Reilly, Josh Hutcherson and Chris Kelly are in negotiations to star in "Cirque du Freak," Universal's adaptation of Darren Shan's kidlit book series. Paul Weitz is directing.

The story follows two best friends (Hutcherson, Kelly) who visit an illegal freak show, where an encounter with a vampire and a giant deadly spider forces them to make life-changing choices that result in vampire servitude and vampirism itself.

Reilly would play Larten Crepsley, the centuries-old vampire and owner of Madame Octa, the spider.

Weitz wrote the latest draft and is producing with Lauren Shuler Donner.

Peter Cramer and Eric Baiers are overseeing for Universal.

Production is scheduled to start in February.

Reilly, repped by UTA and Framework, has lately been in a comedy phase, appearing in such movies as "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby," "Year of the Dog" and Judd Apatow's upcoming "Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story." Before that, he appeared in "Chicago," "Gangs of New York" and "The Hours."

Hutcherson starred in "Bridge to Terabithia" and next appears opposite Brendan Fraser in "Journey 3-D." He is repped by ICM.

Kelly appeared on TBS' "Wanted" and "Boys Life."
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