'Maximus' is National Lampoon's next

Will Sasso, Ian Ziering among cast of spoof

National Lampoon is moving forward with its next in-house production, "National Lampoon's The Legend of Awesomest Maximus," a spoof of sword-and-sandal flicks such as "Gladiator," "300" and "Troy."

"Mad TV's" Will Sasso will lead a cast that includes Kristanna Loken ("Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines"), Ian Ziering ("Beverly Hills, 90210"), Sophie Monk ("Date Movie"), Tony Cox ("Bad Santa") and Rip Torn ("Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story"). The script was written by Jason Burinescu, and "Revenge of the Nerds" helmer Jeff Kanew will direct.

Dan Farah and Burinescu are also producing. Sasso and Dale Rosenbloom are executive producers; Lampoon executive Justin Kanew is overseeing production.

"We're excited to embark on another National Lampoon original production, especially with a cast of this caliber," stated National Lampoon Chief Executive Officer, Daniel Laikin. "'National Lampoon's The Legend of Awesomest Maximus' is a hilarious spoof of some of the classic films of our generation, and is sure to please National Lampoon fans worldwide."

National Lampoon has recently begun producing its own features and hopes to release four per year. Before "Maximus," the company released "National Lampoon's Bagboy" and "National Lampoon's Homo Erectus." It is currently in post-production on "National Lampoon's Ratko: The Dictator's Son." The Lampoon will distribute "Maximus" worldwide, while the broadcast rights to the film have already been sold to Comedy Central.