By Anthony Breznican
Updated April 16, 2012 at 07:39 PM EDT
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Credit: Melissa Moseley

Man Made

  • Movie

Many fatherhood comedies feature a hard-edged old man who’s tougher than he needs to be, but producer Shawn Levy has picked up a story about a new dad who needs to grow a pair.

Levy’s 21 Laps Entertainment production company and Fox 2000 have acquired the upcoming book Man Made by Joel Stein (out May 15), about a guy trying to learn how to be a man so he can be a better role model for his infant son.

The struggles of parenting have been a favorite subject of the Night at the Museum and Real Steel filmmaker, though Levy will NOT be directing this one. Jake Kasdan (Bad Teacher and the criminally underrated Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story) is in talks to direct.

“For a guy with four daughters, I cant seem to stop exploring father-son thematics in my films,” Levy tells EW. “I’m a big fan of Joel’s writing, and the relatable journey he explores in Man Made. These elements, plus the promise of collaborating with a fantastic filmmaker like Jake Kasdan, should make for a film that’s as poignant as it is funny.”

Stein’s book Man Made (subtitled A Stupid Quest for Masculinity) is a nonfiction account of his efforts to mentally and physically test himself in ways he’s never had to before, riding along on a shift with firefighters, taking on an MMA fighter, going through Marine basic training, and consulting with various tough guys about what it means to be a modern American male.

The book’s description states: “He expects to learn that masculinity is not defined by the size of his muscles but by the size of his heart. This is not at all what he learns.”

The project was brought in to 21 Laps by executives Dan Cohen and Billy Rosenberg, and Levy will produce alongside the production company president Dan Levine. Levy and Kasdan are both repped by WME. The project will be overseen by Fox 2000 executive VP Jessica Goodman.

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Man Made

  • Movie