James McAvoy will star in and Nicole Holofcener will direct Mandate Pictures’ untitled comedy formerly known as I’m With Cancer.

McAvoy joins Seth Rogen, who is also producing the story based on the life of the project’s screenwriter Will Reiser.

Production is set to begin in January 2010. McAvoy will play a 25-year-old who learns he has cancer. Reiser was diagnosed with cancer in his mid-20s and successfully battled the disease over several years.

Joining Rogen as producers are his writing partner Evan Goldberg and Ben Karlin, a former Daily Show executive producer. Reiser serves as executive producer along with Mandate president Nathan Kahane.

McAvoy starred in the global hit Wanted as well as Atonement and The Last King Of Scotland. Holofcener’s credits include Lovely And Amazing and Friends With Money and Sony Pictures Classics will release her next feature Please Give in spring 2010.

UTA was integral in helping to put the project together and represents all principal talent associated with the film. Mandate’s senior vice-president of business affairs Dan Freedman negotiated the deals for the company.