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Ed Helms to Make Iowa Cool Again

Iowa Calling: Ed Helms is attached to top-line Cedar Rapids, an Alexander Payne–produced, Miguel Arteta-directed road-trip comedy about a rural-Wisconsinite insurance salesmen who takes a business trip to the titular Iowan metropolis and has his mind blown by the big-city experience. You laugh, but we've been to Cedar Rapids once and can totally see how that might happen. [HR]

Bananas: John Goodman returns to TV comedy, starring in Fox's The Station, the pilot for which will be helmed by David Wain and produced by Ben Stiller. It's a single-camera sitcom about a CIA operative (Justin Bartha) working in Central America to install a new dictator. Goodman will play a veteran CIA agent and Bartha's mentor, who offers witty dictator-installation tips, we guess. [HR]

Dream Fulfilled: Steven Spielberg and friends announced yesterday that they're finally close to locking down the funding required to take the studio private and release five to six films per year. Reliance, Disney, and JPMorgan Securities will kick in a combined $825 million, though they could cut out the middleman and just buy Shia LaBeouf a mansion with a swimming pool. [HR]

Cheaper Than Filming at Caesar's: Hangover director Todd Phillips and Warner Bros. have tapped Matt Manfredi and Phil Hay to script Staycation, a movie Phillips conceptualized and will produce through his WB imprint, Green Hat Films. Plot details are currently unknown, but the studio says it'll be a male-driven comedy in the vein of Hangover. From the title, one can guess it will star some dudes who take off work to hang out at home. We just hope Hay and Manfredi are savvy enough to make one of those dudes Mike Tyson. [Variety]

More for Barney: Scott Speedman, Bruce Greenwood, and Macha Grenon join Paul Giamatti, Minnie Driver, and Dustin Hoffman in the cast of Barney's Version, Richard "Not the Comedian" Lewis's film adaption of the Mordecai Richler novel. Pic stars a guy with Alzheimer's (Giamatti) looking back on his life. Speedman and Grenon will play Barney's friends, Greenwood will play his romantic rival, and you will play a viewer rolling your eyes while Minnie Driver tries her best to act interested in Paul Giamatti and Bruce Greenwood. [HR]

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