No helmer, star attached; Carrey's return unlikely

HOLLYWOOD — In a deal worth low-six against mid-six figures, New Line has tapped scribe Lance Khazei to pen “The Mask 2,” the sequel to the 1994 hit that starred Jim Carrey and grossed $120 million domestically.

New Line execs Michele Weiss and Kent Alterman are overseeing the project with studio prexy Toby Emmerich. No director or thesp talent has been attached to the pic, but Carrey looks unlikely to return as mild-mannered bank clerk Stanley Ipkiss and his masked alter ego, given the star’s current top-tier fee quote.

While the plot of the second installment, which has been in development for several years, is a closely-guarded secret, most expect another supernatural comedy that will feature the magical mask that gives the person wearing it supernatural powers.

Breakthrough f/x

Based on the Dark Horse comicbook series, the first pic’s success has been credited to breakthrough special effects from Industrial Light and Magic as well as Carrey’s cartoonishly manic performance.

While the sequel’s budget has yet to be set, New Line is reportedly focusing on features in the $10 million to $50 million budget range, making hiring Carrey a seemingly cost-prohibitive prospect.

Khazei, who is repped by the Broder Kurland Webb Uffner Agency, recently sold his spec script “Romantic Comedy” to Bob Cooper’s Landscape Entertainment. Chuck Weinstock is attached to produce the project for MGM.

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