Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Mark Wahlberg is in talks to come aboard Avon Man,the 20th Century Fox comedy that once had Hugh Jackman ready to star and Kevin Lima to direct. I’m told that Wahlberg and partner Stephen Levinson will board the projects as producers alongside Krasnoff Foster’s Gary Foster and John Palermo, and it will be developed as a potential star vehicle for Wahlberg. Lima is no longer involved.

Michael McCullers will come aboard and write a new draft of a script originated by Kevin Bisch. Jackman stepped out because he expected to do The Wolverine and had a schedule clash before that project was pushed back. In the film, a group of guys are laid off from an auto dealership, and one reluctantly becomes an Avon salesman. He survives the emasculation, relies on his charm and becomes a top seller. He then tries to save his town and help his struggling family by pulling in his macho unemployed pals to hawk beauty products so they can win a regional contest. Wahlberg and McCullers are repped by WME and Wahlberg is managed by Leverage.

Wahlberg has been mixing dramas and comedies and will soon be seen starring in the Seth MacFarlane-directed Ted. He wrapped the drama Broken City opposite Russell Crowe and is now starring with Dwayne Johnson in the Michael Bay-directed Pain and Gain. He then stars with Denzel Washington in 2 Guns and the Peter Berg-directed Lone Survivor, both of which are being made by Emmatt/Furla and Universal.