Universal stumbles onto 'Klutz'


Jay Baruchel is finally bringing his passion project — based on his character Johnny Klutz — to the big screen.

Rob McKittrick has come aboard to write "Johnny Klutz," a comedy Universal picked up with Baruchel attached to star and Red Hour producing.

Working from his love of physical comedy, Baruchel created the character of Klutz, a lovable loser who is impervious to pain. He paired with Red Hour in the fall, pitching the concept to Universal execs Lawrence Grey and Eric Baiers. Grey has since departed the studio, a victim of company's December layoffs. Red Hour, which was based at DreamWorks, has since signed a first-look deal at Fox.

Baruchel and Red Hour kept honing the character, trying to crack his story, eventually meeting with McKittrick, the writer-director behind the ensemble comedy "Waiting …," starring Ryan Reynolds and Anna Faris. McKittrick came up with a story based on the Klutz character, which put the project in gear.

Ben Stiller, Stuart Cornfeld and Jeremy Kramer are producing for Red Hour. Thruline's Marc Hamou and Willie Mercer, who rep Baruchel, will serve as executive producers.

Baiers and Dave Targan will oversee the project for Universal.

McKittrick, repped by CAA and H2F, has several projects in development, including the comedies "Man Crush" and "The Wingman" at New Line.

Canada native Baruchel slowly has been moving up the comedy food chain in Hollywood, starring in the short-lived "Undeclared," the feature "Knocked Up" and finally landing a key part in "Tropic Thunder," produced by Red Hour.

The actor, additionally repped by CAA, is prepping to shoot the Disney-Bruckheimer movie "The Sorcerer's Apprentice," opposite Nicolas Cage, and has "She's Out of My League" in the can. (partialdiff)