Oscar-winner Martin Landau (Ed Wood) and actor Devon Bostick (Adoration) are in negotiations with Canadian producers David Miller and newcomer Darren Portelli to star in the heartbreaking comedy, Born Into This, by first-time feature director Emmanuel Shirinian.

“The script has gone out to them and they both like it,” Miller said to Screen International. The comedy, albeit dark, is “about a grandfather and a grandson who are pursuing the same woman.”

Telefilm Canada is on board for the C$2.5 million picture ready to shoot spring/summer 2011 in Toronto; producers are shopping TIFF for a distributor. OMDC hasalso committed C$25,000 for the development of Born Into This, according to Miller.

Born Into This marks a directorial feature debut for 34-year-old Montrealer Shirinian (now a Canadian Film Center grad, based in Toronto), although he has a number of award-winning shorts under his belt.

Shirinian told Screen: “I really love comedy and the comedies I love are rooted in something tragic. Humor emerges from people going through difficult things. Born into This is humor emerging from the rubble of tragedy. This comedy is heartbreaking.”

This TIFF, Shirinian has the short comedy “Les Softies” in program six of short films playing at TIFF BELL Lightbox. He was previously here in 2006 with The Last Bang.

“I’ve been exploring themes of love, death, infidelity and family as a writer and director for a long time,” Shirinian said. “I’m also exploring the breakdown of communication in families and the idea that blood is thicker than water. Family can get away with murder; friends don’t. No matter how much your grandfather is an asshole, he’s still your grandfather. That’s what this film is about.”