Steve Carell must have taken an interest in large-scale rivalry comedies, as he’s just had Universal acquire a novel to be adapted into a film that will likely pit him against another big comedian. Called Lunatics, the story is about a small row between two Soccer dads that somehow explodes into a world-altering conflict involving terrorists, bears, and armies. This joins Burt Wonderstone on Carell’s slate, with that picture beginning production in January and revolves around a fierce rivalry between two popular magicians, the other illusionist being played by Jim Carrey.
The book was written by Dave Barry and Alan Zweibel, both major veteran comedy writers. Zweibel has five Emmys to his name, having written for SNL and Curb Your Enthusiasm, whereas Barry ran a nationally syndicated humor column for 20+ years, has dozens of books and novels to his name, and won a Pulitzer Prize in ’88 for his humorous commentary.
The book has a great absurdist premise that could work for a high-budget tentpole comedy, though it will ultimately come down to casting and director to have any idea if it will scale up to the big screen particularly well. We should hear more developing from this once Burt Wonderstone is more thoroughly underway.