With guys like Steve Carell carrying the comic baton, Jim Carrey seems to be working on retiring his manic shtick and becoming all actorly.  Joining the guy who gave him orange hair and squeezed him into a green body sock might not seem like the best way to go about it, but read on!

Carrey is reuniting for a new riddle with Batman Forever director/destroyer Joel Schumacher on a thriller called The Number 23 (I guess that thanks to Lost, not to mention the continued success of Sesame Street, numbers are a hot property with execs).  The New Line flick, an original (gasp!) script by Fernley Phillips, will feature Carrey as a guy who reads a book that bears disturbing similarities to his own life, but he’s not crazy about the ending, which involves a murder. The numerals of the title make frequent appearances impacting the story.

Schumacher has been thoroughly vilified for his demolition of the Batman franchise, but he can actually be quite an effective director when he keeps it relatively lean (Tigerland, Falling Down and Phone Booth, which was originally set to star Carrey) and suppresses his more flamboyant predilections and vinyl fetishes, so maybe this will help him rebound from the hammering he took from his Phantom of the Opera.

And don’t worry, In Living Color fans — Carrey will briefly return to being all kerrazy-kooky along with Ben Stiller in the (proposed) comedy Used Guys.

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