knoxEXCLUSIVE: Johnny Knoxville has come attached to star in Sick Day, the comedy that Jeremy Garelick will direct for Universal Pictures. Jordan Cahan will rewrite the script originated by Garelick, the latter of whom picked Cahan because he is busy in postproduction on The Wedding Ringer, his directorial debut for Screen Gems. Brian Grazer is producing the comedy for Imagine Entertainment alongside Kim Roth. Edward Bates will also produce under his Bates Entertainment banner.

In what is a modern-day Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Knoxville will play one of three thirtysomething friends who uphold a tradition of calling in sick one day a year to fulfill fantasies while not getting caught. He is the first actor in the fold. I still can remember at Variety, being the first journalist to see and write about his absolutely shocking home movie shot by Jeff Tremaine and Spike Jonze that became the template for Jackass, where Knoxville subjected himself to the most medieval forms of abuse, capped by being shot with a handgun while wearing a cheap bulletproof vest. So forgive me if I get a little misty as my little Johnny gets another big studio starring role, where they have stuntmen, and he doesn’t have to get paintballed or gored by a bull or have his nut sack throttled in the many indignities he subjected himself to during his run as Jackass star.

Universal Pictures VP Production Maradith Frenkel and creative executive Chloe Yellin will oversee the project. Garelick’s Screen Gems pic stars Josh Gad and Kevin Hart and will be released Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend next year. His other script work includes The Break-Up and The Hangover. Knoxville is repped by CAA and 3 Arts and Warren Dern. Cahan is repped by UTA and Mosaic and attorney Stephen Clark and Garelick is represented by UTA and Morris Yorn Barnes.