Stephen Fry is to take a leading role in the film adaptation of his novel, The Liar, with newcomer Tony Hagger producing and directing.

Sir Ian McKellen and rising young British talent Nicholas Hoult (About a Boy and UK TV series Skins) are also being lined up to appear in the British comedy.

Hoult will play Adrian Healey, a hapless young man who goes to stay with his uncle (Fry) in Salzburg becoming embroiled in murder and mystery.

Hagger, speaking to ScreenDaily in Cannes this week said that the film, with a budget expected between $5.4m - $7.7m (£3.5m-£5m) was looking to go into production next year with filming in the UK, largely around Cambridge and in Austria.

Talks are taking place with BBC Films and other potential partners to secure funding and distribution. Fry will be executive producer on the film of his 1991 novel.

The screenplay is being written by Zak Shaikh, who has worked on US comedies including Headcase.

Hagger is a graduate of the London Film School, and won awards at several shorts festival for his 2005 film Half Term.