Paul Rudd Cast As Moe Berg In WWII-Era ‘The Catcher Was A Spy’

Paul Rudd first conquered the Marvel Cinematic Universe with his own superhero movie Ant-Man. Now the actor will play a real-life spy in The Catcher Was a Spy, based on the bestselling book by Nicholas Dawidoff.

Deadline got the exclusive news on April 28 about Rudd being cast in the upcoming World War II thriller. The 47-year-old actor will play Moe Berg, a major league journeyman baseball player who joined the Office of Strategic Services to help the United States during wartime.

Paul Rudd movie, The Catcher Was a Spy, World War II thriller
The Catcher Was a Spy describes Berg as an Ivy League graduate who earned a law degree, and had the ability to speak 12 languages. Berg spent about 16 years in Major League Baseball as a journeyman backup catcher for several teams such as Chicago White Sox, Brooklyn Dodgers, Washington Senators, Boston Red Sox, and the Cleveland Indians.

Berg first joined the Office of the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs in 1942 before joining the OSS, which was a forerunner for the CIA. Berg became a top secret double agent to help the U.S. with preventing Germany from building their atomic bomb.

Filmwriter Robert Rodat, who penned the WWII classic Saving Private Ryan and co-wrote Thor: The Dark World, adapted the screenplay from Dawidoff’s book. The Sessions‘ Ben Lewin is the director, and PalmStar Media’s Kevin Frakes and Mark Fasano will finance and produce The Catcher Was a Spy. No other actors were announced for the rest of the cast yet.

Paul Rudd wasn’t the first choice to be cast as Moe Berg. George Clooney originally had the movie rights and Warner Bros. figured that he would produce and star in the film version, but The Catcher Was a Spy had development issues for years, according to Empire Online. Miramax and HBO tried to get the project off the ground, but nothing ever came of it. PalmStar Media eventually acquired the rights and cast Rudd as the main character.

The upcoming thriller will be a change for Rudd, who is popular for starring mainly in comedy movies. Rudd got his big break in the 1996 teen classic Clueless and would have memorable parts in movies like Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Wanderlust, and This Is 40. Rudd also had a recurring role on the fourth season of Parks and Recreation, playing aspiring politician Bobby Newport.

Last summer, Paul Rudd entered the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Scott Lang/Ant-Man in the 2015 release Ant-Man. Rudd also co-wrote the film’s screenplay with Adam McKay. Rudd reprises his Ant-Man role for Captain America: Civil War that will open in North America on May 6. Rudd will also star in the sequel Ant-Man and the Wasp, which has a July 2018 release date.

Rudd has two non-Marvel movies in post-production. Rudd stars alongside Selena Gomez and Jennifer Ehle in The Fundamentals of Caring, a drama about a man whose life changes after he enrolls in a caregiving class. The movie will stream on Netflix on June 24.

Paul Rudd lends his voice in the upcoming Sausage Party, an adult animated comedy film that is a spoof of Pixar and Disney films. The movie also features the voices of James Franco, Salma Hayek, Kristen Wiig, Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, Craig Robinson, and Edward Norton. Sausage Party has an August 12 release date.

Rudd has been promoting a couple of his films this month. Rudd was in London on April 26 to do a red carpet appearance for the Captain America: Civil War premiere.

Rudd also made an appearance at the Tribeca Film Festival earlier this month to promote Nerdland, another adult animated feature that also stars Patton Oswalt, Molly Shannon, Hannibal Buress, and Mike Judge. Variety has the NSFW Nerdland trailer featured on their website.

[Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images]