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Steve Coogan could send up fanboy culture (again)

July 20, 2010 |  6:17 pm

Coogan 

The 2008 high school farce "Hamlet 2" may not have exactly been a hit, but it was a perfect showcase for Steve Coogan's manic talents. Now Focus Features, which released that film, could be showcasing even more Coogan.

Sources say the specialty division is developing a remake of the fanboy-themed British comedy "Cruise of the Gods," with Coogan set to reprise his role.  As Comic-con approaches, it's hard to imagine a more timely piece of news: The film is about a fan cruise in honor of a fictitious science-fiction series and the clashes among the cast when they reunite several decades after the series goes off the air. (Coogan's character is more successful than the rest, among other comic premises.) The BBC produced and aired the original film back in 2002.

The new version, which is tentatively titled "The Great Beyond," has some other talented names on it. Attached to write and direct are Dave Guion and Michael Handelman. The pair, who toiled as writers on Jay Roach's development-world cautionary tale "Used Guys," did a skillful job balancing the outrageous and the human in next weekend's "Dinner for Schmucks" (more on that movie in an upcoming print story).

We've been waiting for the studio world to give Coogan the same chance to carry a film that it's given  Ricky Gervais. Until now, Coogan has starred in indies (Focus picked up "Hamlet 2" after it was completed) or played more supporting parts, like his role in the upcoming "The Other Guys."

With Comic-con highlighting not just what's hot but also properties long past their shelf life that somehow still find a fan base (Viking Quest, anyone?), "The Great Beyond" seems like it could almost be ripped from the booths at the San Diego Convention Center. We'll keep an eye out for some real-life inspirations down there this weekend.

-- Steven Zeitchik

http://twitter.com/ZeitchikLAT

Photo: Steve Coogan in "Hamlet 2." Credit: Focus Features

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