EXCLUSIVE: Paramount Pictures has acquired a spec package with Captain America star Anthony Mackie, Dear White People helmer Justin Simien and the 2013 Black List comedy script Make A Wish at its center. The studio has acquired the script by first-timer Zach Frankel as a star vehicle for Mackie, directed by Simien, whose Sundance prize-winning film got Independent Spirit and Gotham Award nominations for Best Director. Robert Teitel and Jason Spire will produce it and Mackie will be executive producer along with Jason Newman and Jason Weinberg.

Justin-Simien-2Mackie will play Butchie Jones, a football star who wants to grant the final wish of a dying 14-year-old who adores the gridironer. It’s not an easy wish, though; the kid wants the football star to help him score before he died. And I don’t mean carry the pigskin into the end zone. Mackie certainly has worked his way to the top of the cast list after distinguished work ranging from the Captain America films to The Hurt Locker, Million Dollar Baby, Pain And Gain and Half Nelson. He just wrapped production on the Columbia Pictures comedy Xmas, opposite Seth Rogen and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and the John Hillcoat-directed thriller 999 opposite Casey Affleck, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Teresa Palmer. He’s filming Our Brand Is Crisis opposite Sandra Bullock for Warner Bros.

The comedy marks the first sale for Frankel, who’s repped by WME and Untitled. Mackie is repped by UTA and Inspire Entertainment, Simien by WME and Oasis Media Group.