Ryan Kavanaugh’s Relativity Media is preparing an August start on the comedy MacGruber, based on the Saturday Night Live (SNL) sketch about an inept spy.

SNL cast regular Will Forte created the character and will reprise his role alongside his SNL compadre Kristen Wiig as the hapless adventurer’s sidekick Vicki. Val Kilmer and Ryan Phillippe are in negotiations to join the cast.

Plot details remain under wraps. Forte came up with the character as a parody of the TV show MacGyver, which ran from 1985-92 and centred on a laid-back, privately employed former secret agent who solved problems with the help of his trusty Swiss Army Knife.

Forte will write the screenplay with his sketch show colleagues Jorma Taccone, who will also direct, and John Solomon.

Kavanaugh will produce with Lorne Michaels and John Goldwyn, while Relativity’s Tucker Tooley serves as executive producer alongside Erin David and SNL head writer Seth Meyers.

Relativity’s wholly owned Rogue will distribute the film, most likely in 2010 although this was not confirmed at time of writing.

“The character is an instant SNL classic,” Kavanaugh said. “The film takes the hilarious concept from the skit, where he has only 30 seconds to live, and builds it into a full-fledged story sure to make people of all ages laugh.”

Forte will next appear in Endgame Entertainment’s upcoming comedy A Good Old Fashion Orgy and, like Taccone, is represented by UTA and Mosaic Media Group. Wiig is handled by UTA and Odenkirk Provissiero Entertainment.

Upcoming releases of Relativity films include A Perfect Getaway, as well as the remake of Susanne Bier’s Danish drama Brothers, and Spy Next Door.