Universal’s medieval fantasy Your Highness is to begin pre-production in Northern Ireland and is dueto start shooting in July.

Starring James Franco and directed by David Gordon Green, the comedy about a lazy prince and his more heroic brother will be based primarily at Belfast’s Paint Hall studio. Danny McBride will co-star and also co-wrote the screenplay with Ben Best.

The production’s decision to film in Northern Ireland follows a recent trip to Los Angeles by Northern Ireland Screen chief executive Richard Williams, with Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness.

Williams said, “We welcome the confirmation that Your Highness is coming to the Paint Hall and are very much looking forward to working with Universal. This means a great deal to Northern Ireland in terms of economic benefit, helping grow the industry here and showing the world that Northern Ireland can pull in another major Hollywood film.”

Jimmy Horowitz, executive vice-president of Universal Pictures and co-president of Production, said it chose the country for its locations but added that its film incentive and favourable exchange rate had also helped attract the production.

The film is expected to spend about £10million on local goods and services, and to offer valued employment opportunities for local crew.