Word got out earlier this year that Judd Apatow’s next writing/directorial effort would be a spinoff of sorts, which will once again feature Leslie Mann and Paul Rudd as 30-something married couple Pete and Debbie, reprising their roles from the filmmaker’s hit 2007 comedy, Knocked Up.

Now former Transformers franchise starlet Megan Fox has signed on to star in Apatow’s upcoming project, and comedic actor/writer/director Albert Brooks is in discussions to join the cast as well.

THR originally confirmed that Fox is onboard for Apatow’s new flick, though her role has not yet been revealed. Deadline says that should Brooks (who you probably know best as the voice of Marlin in Finding Nemo) sign on, he’ll play the father to Rudd’s character.

When stories about Apatow’s new film first began to circulate, the comedic auteur was quick to clarify that the pic won’t be a prequel or sequel to Knocked Up, but a true spinoff – similar to how the Apatow-produced Get Him to the Greek connects with Forgetting Sarah Marshall without actually being a straightforward followup.

Here’s how Apatow describes it:

“It is just a story from Pete and Debbie’s current life. People really responded to their characters and problems. I felt like there was a lot of ground I could explore with them, so we’ll be shooting [the film] in July [2011] and [it] will come out the following June [2012]. There are some fun details yet to reveal but I will let them come out slowly.”

Mann and Rudd in ‘Knocked Up’.

Apatow has been quite busy over the past fews years as a producer, working behind the scenes on R-Rated comedy fare like Superbad, Pineapple Express, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, and this year’s Bridesmaids. He’s only actually written and directed three films over the past decade, including The 40 Year Old Virgin, Funny People, and of course the original Knocked Up.

Those three features contain Apatow’s trademark mix of raunchy language/content and heart, with each subsequent release being more serious and dramatic than its predecessor. That trend may continue to a degree with the filmmaker’s latest project, though it’s unlikely that Apatow will be making anything too somber in the near future – and, based off the diminished box office receipts for Funny People, studio heads won’t be inclined to let him get too serious, anyway.

We’ll keep you posted on the development of Apatow’s Knocked Up spinoff as more information is released.

Source: THR, Deadline