Will Forte to Star as 'National Lampoon' Co-Founder in Netflix Movie (Exclusive)

Will Forte -Getty-H 2016
Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic/Getty Images

'Wet Hot American Summer' co-creator David Wain is directing the movie, titled 'A Futile and Stupid Gesture.'

The tragic story of Doug Kenney, one of the co-founders of National Lampoon, is getting the screen treatment as an original Netflix movie.

Will Forte is attached to portray the man in the feature project, titled A Futile and Stupid Gesture, with David Wain, the co-creator of Wet Hot American Summer, on board to direct the project that is in negotiations to land at Netflix.

The script adapts the 2006 book by Josh Karp and is written by Michael Colton and John Aboud. Peter Principato and Jonathan Stern are producing. Ed Helms is executive producing along with Colton and Aboud. Ben Ormand, Ted Hamm and Sean McKittrick are also exec producing.

Kenney was the editor of the Harvard Lampoon when he met Henry Beard and Robert Hoffman, which, soon after graduation, resulted in the creation of National Lampoon, the humor magazine that became not only a major force in 1970s comedy but a major brand, too, with a radio show, recordings, and movies under its name. He and the magazine were responsible for launching the careers of many key comedy voices, including John Belushi and John Hughes.

Kenney steered the ship in the early years but went to Hollywood when he became a co-writer on National Lampoon’s Animal House and later Caddyshack. By the late 1970s, when his Hollywood career was in full swing, drugs and alcohol were taking a toll.

In 1980, Chevy Chase and Kenney’s girlfriend tried to intervene by spending time with him in Hawaii but both had to return to the Mainland. Days later, Kenney’s body was found at the bottom of the cliff. It wasn’t clear if the fall was accidental or suicidal. Either way, a comedic talent was dead at 33.

Stupid Gesture is eyeing an April start with a budget in the $15 to $20 million range.

Colton and Aboud have a connection to the material as they served as editors of the Harvard Lampoon. The duo worked on Penguins of Madagascar and wrote episodes of Children’s Hospital, the Cartoon Network show co-created by Wain.

Colton and Aboud are repped by CAA. Wain is repped by WME, Principato Young Entertainment and Stone Genow.

Forte, a fixture on Saturday Night Live for eight seasons, is the co-creator and star of The Last Man on Earth, for which he has garnered Emmy nominations for both acting and writing. He has two movies in the can: Keanu, the comedy from Keegan Michael-Key and Jordan Peele, and Popstar: Never Stop Stopping, from Lonely Island comedy group.

Forte is repped by UTA, Rise Management, and Hansen Jacobson.

Principato Young is a force in the comedy world and is producing New Line's Keanu as well as its Dwayne Johnson-Kevin Hart movie Central Intelligence. It previously worked with Netflix on Wet Hot American Summer, as well as the Will Arnett series Flaked.