Rentaghost – a movie adaptation of the popular BBC TV show – was slated as a starring vehicle for Russell Brand last winter… that is, before the woebegone Arthur remake with Brand hit theaters.

Brand thereafter passed on the Warner Bros. project, which has now secured a more bankable (and American) leading funnyman: Ben Stiller. It’ll be a reunion of sorts for the actor, seeing how the Night at the Museum franchise scribers Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant will be handling screenwriting duties on Rentaghost.

Deadline rightly points out that we’ll be seeing a lot of Stiller (onscreen) in the near future. Besides starring in Rentaghost, the actor will also appear alongside Eddie Murphy in Tower Heist next month, is currently working on the comical alien invasion flick Neighborhood Watch, and could direct himself in the Secret Life of Walter Mitty remake. So… here’s hoping you haven’t grown tired of Stiller’s comedic shtick just yet.

The original kid-friendly Rentaghost TV show aired from 1976-84 and revolved around a South Ealing couple – Harold and Ethel Meaker – who rented out ghosts, poltergeists, and spiritual beings to perform a variety of tasks for their customers. Warner Bros.’ Rentaghost movie, by comparison, will feature Stiller as an American turnaround consultant who travels to the UK, in order to “reinvigorate a failing company” – that of the film’s namesake.

So, yeah – when Brand was set up to headline Rentaghost, it was being fashioned as more a Beetlejuice-inspired supernatural comedy. Now, it sounds like the film will basically amount to “Night at the Haunted Museum” (minus the “Museum”, that is).

That’s not per se a bad thing, since both Night at the Museum and its sequel, Battle of the Smithsonian, were overall pretty harmless, effect-heavy adventures for the whole family. True, they arguably never fully realized the potential of their all-star casts – and only really offered a handful of chuckles for adults – but as far as inoffensive entertainment for the non-legal crowd goes, you could do much worse.

We will keep you posted on the status of Rentaghost as the story develops.

Source: Deadline