Sam RockwellEXCLUSIVE: The Iron Man 2 actor is interested in playing Joe, a guy who finds himself accompanying his pregnant teenage girlfriend to Bethlehem, Maryland. His girlfriend’s name is Mary and soon the town is agog that it’s about to witness the Second Coming.

Comedy Sweet Baby Jesus is due to begin filming in August on location in Maryland. Peter Hewitt (Garfield) is directing. The French production will then do studio work in Ireland. British equity investors are financing the $10 million project, which will also qualify for Ireland’s Section 481 tax incentive. Intandem Films, the London-based sales agent, is handling international sales. CAA has helped package the comedy.

Pixie LottIf he does sign up, Rockwell will be playing opposite British pop star Pixie Lott as Mary. The name won’t mean much in the States, but over here Lott is the latest teen pop sensation. She’s an acting school brat, who not only sings and dances but writes her own material. CAA has just signed her for the States. She’s so talented that she sets your teeth on edge. Britney Spears was originally going to play the Mary part, but dropped out.

Bette Midler will play “innkeeper” Eleanor and Kim Cattrall, Mary’s mother Darlene.

Brit TV comedy director Bob Spiers first gave producer Philippe Rebboah the script. Rebboah’s first film as associate producer was Amy Redford’s directorial debut The Guitar. “I really loved Steve Blair’s screenplay,” the former MGM exec tells me. “It made me laugh out loud. The script has such fun subverting the treasured details of the Nativity – posing the question, ‘What would we do if it all happened again?’”