Joel McHale is in final negotiations to portray Chevy Chase, with whom he starred on NBC’s Community, in Netflix’s tragic story of National Lampoon co-founder Douglas Kenney, A Futile and Stupid Gesture,
Will Forte is starring as Kenney with Domnhall Gleeson as fellow co-founder Henry Beard in the feature being directed by David Wain, the co-creator of Wet Hot American Summer.
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 a major force and brand in 1970s comedy. Kenney ended up going Hollywood and succumbed to drug and alcohol issues before falling off a cliff in Hawaii under mysterious circumstances.
Kenney co-wrote Caddyshack, the 1980 comedy that was an early Chase hit, and the two were close friends. Chase was with his troubled pal in Hawaii before his death but returned to Los Angeles for work. He was set to fly back when he received word that Kenney was missing.
Stupid Gesture is eyeing an April start with a budget in the $15 million to $20 million range.
Peter Principato and Jonathan Stern are producing. Ed Helms is executive producing along with Michael Colton and John Aboud, who wrote the script. Ben Ormand, Ted Hamm and Sean McKittrick are also exec producing.
McHale starred with Chase for five of Community‘s six seasons. The actor-comedian, who continues to tour sold-out comedy shows across the U.S., is starring in the CBS pilot The Great Indoors, which shoots later this month. He also has his memoir, titled Thanks for the Money: How to Use My Life Story to Become the Best Joel McHale You Can Be, hitting shelves in November.