Whereas Zac Efron and Seth Rogen once sparred in the Neighbors franchise, Efron has now signed on to replace Rogen in King of the Jungle, the indie comedy about wacko tech magnate John McAfee.
Crazy, Stupid, Love filmmakers Glenn Ficarra and John Requa are directing from a script by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, the Emmy-winning duo behind American Crime Story and the current Netflix sensation Dolemite Is My Name.
The film follows a Wired journalist named Ari Furman (Efron), who accepts what he thinks is a run-of-the-mill assignment to interview McAfee, the creator of the McAfee Antivirus software. He soon finds himself in the jungles of Belize, where the increasingly paranoid mogul has retreated to a Colonel Kurtz-like compound of guns, sex and madness.
Michael Keaton was previously attached to star as McAfee but he’s no longer involved, which is a damn shame, as Keaton’s McAfee could’ve been something special. Mark my words, some actor is going to make a meal of this wild role and I can’t wait to see who steps up to the plate. Part of me thinks Hugh Laurie would crush it, but the film’s financiers might prefer a bigger name with a more established track record on the big screen.
Charlie Gogolak will produce King of the Jungle with Condé Nast Entertainment, Ficarra and Requa’s Zaftig Films, Epic Entertainment and MadRiver Pictures, whose international arm is selling foreign rights at AFM this week. STX is still in talks to serve as the film’s domestic distributor, and production is expected to start early next year.
Efron is coming off some of the best reviews of his career for his turn as infamous serial killer Ted Bundy in the Netflix movie Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil And Vile. He also recently co-starred in The Greatest Showman and The Beach Bum, and he’ll soon be heard as the voice of Fred in WB’s animated Scooby-Doo movie Scoob. Efron is represented by CAA and Alchemy Entertainment, and his casting was first reported by Deadline.
Keaton may have exited King of the Jungle, but he just signed on to join the ensemble cast of Aaron Sorkin‘s Trial of the Chicago 7.