Rainn Wilson IS Kanan Rhodes

The Office US star in a new comedy

Looks like Steve Carell isn’t the only star of the American version of The Office who’s carving out a movie career for himself. Rainn Wilson, who for many people is The Office’s secret weapon as the oleaginous, obsequious Dwight (ostensibly the US equivalent of Mackenzie Crook’s Gareth), has just signed up for his first lead role in a motion picture.

Wilson, whose deadpan delivery and arched forehead thrust him into unlikely leading man territory, will be playing the title role in the brilliantly-named Kanan Rhodes: Unkillable Servant Of Justice, as a puffed-up, preening legal eagle who serves subpoenas with the vim, vigour and style of James Bond – but there, so the press release goes, do the comparisons end.

Now, Empire has a soft spot for ridiculously overblown, silly comedies and Kanan Rhodes appears to have it all, from an offbeat star to an utterly daft title and premise and a director, in Mr. Show refugee Bob Odenkirk, who understands zany.

Odenkirk, who recently directed Will Arnett in Let’s Go To Prison (though let’s not hold that against him), co-wrote the script with B.J. Porter and Scott Aukerman some seven years ago, but the project had lain dormant for want of a star… until Wilson took an interest and MTV Films deigned to foot the bill.

"The appeal of Rainn is that Rainn can play a character who is absolutely sure of himself, who is full of bravado and braggadocio,” Odenkirk told The Hollywood Reporter, “and in the course of being that guy, he's hilarious and extremely sympathetic. A lot of actors would come off as dicks, but when he does it, it's sweet and kind of sad.

“It's a souped-up 'Pink Panther'-slash-'Ace Ventura' and overflowing with comic characters," added Odenkirk. Let’s hope that that’s Sellers-and-not-Martin-era Pink Panther and the first Ace Ventura rather than the bloated misfire that was the sequel.

Still, it all sounds like it could be Austin Powers meets Ron Burgundy to us, and with Wilson finally getting a chance to hog the limelight after three years stealing The Office from under Carell’s nose (not to mention his coruscating comedic chemistry with Luke Wilson in last year’s My Super Ex-Girlfriend), this could be very interesting. And hopefully interesting will translate as ‘incredibly funny’ rather than ‘dear God, it feels like someone is hammering nails into my skull!’

Filming starts in May, during Wilson’s hiatus from the current season of The Office, so we should find out sometime next year.