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Zach Galifianakis eyes 'Funny Story'

Dramedy from 'Half Nelson' writer-directors

TORONTO -- Zach Galifianakis is in negotiations to star in "It's Kind of a Funny Story," the coming-of-age dramedy from "Half Nelson" writer-directors Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden.

Focus Features and Misher Films are teaming on the project. Wayfare Entertainment is financing and producing. A shoot date this year is planned.

Emma Roberts, repped by Sweeney Management, also is in talks to star in "Story."

The pic, based on Ned Vizzini's young-adult novel, tells of a teenage boy who, after a bout of depression, is sent to a mental institution, where he ends up in the adult ward and meets a number of offbeat adults as well as a quirky teenage girl.

Galifianakis would play one of the main adult roles, while Roberts would star as the teenage love interest.

Galifianakis' stock shot up in Hollywood after his turn as a zoned-out, baby-carrying stoner in Todd Phillips' summer blockbuster "The Hangover." The CAA-repped actor has taken on roles in a number of comedies, but "Story" would represent a meatier part with dramatic elements.

Galifianakis also is set for two comedic tentpoles for Warners -- the buddy road-comedy "Due Date," which has wrapped production, and "Hangover 2," which is set to shoot next year.

Fleck and Boden, repped by WME and Management 360, are coming off two critical darlings -- their Oscar-nominated "Half Nelson" and the immigrant-baseball drama "Sugar."

Focus has been generating strong word-of-mouth in Toronto for "A Serious Man," its quirky period drama about a troubled Midwestern professor, which it releases Oct. 2.