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Steve Carell looks to make some big-screen magic

September 23, 2010 |  1:57 pm

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EXCLUSIVE: There's probably not an actor out there right now with more comedy options than Steve Carell. (That includes you, Joaquin Phoenix.)

After years of Carell trying to squeeze in movies between his hectic "Office" shooting schedule, the star is essentially ready to tackle any scripts that he likes. And now, finally, he has the time to make them. Carell has a small shooting window in October, when "The Office" takes a pause. And then, come March, when his last season with the show wraps, he's wide open.

The actor and his representatives have been entertaining all comers with ideas on how to fill his schedule. One movie we're hearing that could make the grade: "Burt Wonderstone," which sources say Carell is circling and could well come aboard.

The New Line comedy is about a Vegas magician who accidentally kills his partner and must regain his mojo (or, as the logline has it, his "hocus-pocus focus") while simultaneously competing with a rival. The film offers the broad comedy with a hint of bathos that we've seen Carell demonstrate as Michael Scott and in film roles over his career, most recently as the eager schlemiel Barry in "Dinner for Schmucks."

Producers all around town want Carell because they know any film with him pretty much goes on the fast track. Studios, after all, love the actor, and it's not an idle affection. Of the five live-action comedies in which Carell has had a leading role, four have grossed nearly $100 million or more.

Even without Carell, "Wonderstone" is already a priority at New Line. The script has had a few writers, but it recently got a new draft from John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein, the scribes who also wrote the studio's "Horrible Bosses," next summer's buzzed-about comedy with Jason Bateman and Kevin Spacey (it's essentially "Office Space" with a murder).

Still up for grabs on "Wonderstone" is the director's chair, though if Carell makes a deal, that won't be a problem filling with a top-tier name (with the star's consent, of course).

Carell still has a sequel to "Get Smart" and a host of development projects he couldn't get to while his TV stardom hovered in the background. There will be less of him in our living rooms, but a lot more of him on the big screen.

--Steven Zeitchik

Twitter.com/ZeitchikLAT

Photo: Steve Carell in "Get Smart." Credit: Tracy Bennett / Warner Bros.

RECENT AND RELATED:

Steve Carell: Why the fuss about my 'Office' departure?

'Dinner for Schmucks': A long time between courses

For Steve Carell and Tina Fey, Date Night rings true



 
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