EXCLUSIVE: 20th Century Fox has acquired rights to the supernatural British comedy show Rentaghost, and has re-teamed Ben Stiller with his Night At The Museum writers Tom Lennon and Robert Ben Garant. The film will be produced by Gail Berman and Lloyd Braun through BermanBraun and Kevin McCormick through Langley Park. Patrick Pidgeon is producer and Andrew Mittman is co-producer. The comedy will be based on the British TV kid series that ran on BBC1 from 1976-84. The project was once in negotiations to land at Warner Bros with Berman and McCormick as a vehicle for Russell Brand, but he withdrew after Arthur didn’t open strongly, and the studio never closed the deal. If Stiller, Lennon and Garant can replicate anything close to Night at the Museum, this could be another strong family franchise for Fox, where Stiller’s Red Hour is based.
The original show involved a supernatural firm called Rentaghost, which rented out spirits for a variety of tasks. In the take that Lennon and Garant will write, the idea is for Stiller to play an American turnaround consultant who is sent to the UK to reinvigorate a failing company. Stiller’s got a lot going on. The Brett Ratner-directed Tower Heist will be released next month, he’s shooting the Akiva Schaffer-directed Fox comedy Neighborhood Watch with Vince Vaughn and Jonah Hill, and continues to work with Fox on The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty, which he hopes to direct and star in. There is also a Zoolander sequel at Paramount, if they can work out the budget. Stiller trotted out his Derek Zoolander character during last weekend’s hosting stint on Saturday Night Live. He’s repped by WME, the scribes by CAA and Principato-Young.