Slowly but surely, Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin are becoming the Hope-and-Crosby of the 21st Century. Nancy Meyers pitted the funnymen against each other for Meryl Streep’s affections in the light-as-a-feather rom-com It’s Complicated. The Academy tapped them as co-hosts for the 2010 Oscars. Baldwin recently passed Martin for the most hosting appearances in Saturday Night Live history (leading to a fairly amusing steroid-testing skit to open the current SNL season). And now Adam Shankman wants the duo for an as-yet-untitled comedy pitch that New Line Cinema might acquire.

And there’s a solid hook. Deadline says the pitch, which is still in early stages, somehow mixes Grumpy Old Men with Trading Places. Obviously, neither Martin nor Baldwin could stand in for Eddie Murphy’s Billy Ray Valentine, but the idea of them riffing as modern-day versions of Mortimer and Randolph Duke gets my pulse racing. Heck, Baldwin plays a version of a Duke brother on 30 Rock each week, so this idea certainly has potential.

The two even have history with Shankman. For starters, the Hairspray director produced the Academy Awards Baldwin and Martin hosted. He also directed Martin in Cheaper By the Dozen and Bringing Down the House, and convinced Baldwin to join him for the musical adaptation of Rock of Ages. What kind of magic can the trio work in this comedy? How strong was the premise that it convinced all three to sign on before a screenwriter has had a chance to flesh out the idea? I’m anxious to see what comes of this deal as it moves forward. Are you?

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