London-based Intandem Films has taken on worldwide rights for Steve Bendelack's new comedy Sweet Baby Jesus.

The cast will include Lily Tomlin, Tom Green, Melanie Griffith, Michael McKean, Alison Pill (Milk), and Sean Brosnan (Laws Of Attraction).

The ensemble comedy revisits the story of the Nativity set in 1970s Bethlehem, Maryland.

Bendelack previously directed 2007 smash hit Mr Bean's Vacation and The League of Gentlemen's Apocalypse as well as episodes of TV series including The Royle Family, Little Britain and The League Of Gentlemen.

Philippe Rebboah of Cine8Media will produce the $9m project, which is set to shoot in the US in the first quarter of 2009. Rebboah previously served as associate producer on Amy Redford's The Guitar.

Bendelack said: 'As a director of comedies in both TV and film I was convinced of the potential of Sweet Baby Jesus. We have a hugely talented and experienced cast who will be able to deliver laugh-out-loud performances and working with Intandem and their expertise will help deliver a great comedy into the marketplace.'

Intandem director Andrew Brown added: 'One of our strengths at Intandem is in selling quality comedy films worldwide. Sweet Baby Jesus is a fantastic comedy that clearly fits into our strategy. Working with such a talented director and all star comedic cast, together with a great script, we are confident that we will be able to create a must-see Saturday-night date movie that will get people into cinemas.'

The story unfolds as hippies Mary and Joe travel to a chicken farming town for the holidays. Mary announces she's pregnant but doesn't know who the father is. When the town's inn is fully booked, they stay at a local bed & breakfast and spur local speculation that their visit is a sign of the Second Coming.