Carell gets 'Life' at Disney

Steve Carell will star in “Dan in Real Life,” a Disney romantic comedy to be directed by Peter Hedges.

Pierce Gardner wrote the script and Jon Shestack is producing.

Carell, who emerged as a desirable comedy commodity after “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” will star in “Dan in Real Life” once he completes “Evan Almighty,” the “Bruce Almighty” sequel Tom Shadyac will direct for Universal early next year.

Carell plays a widower with three daughters who writes a parenting column for his local newspaper. His strict rules for behavior are tested when he falls for the girlfriend of his younger brother.

Hedges, who last directed “Pieces of April” and who adapted “About a Boy” and “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape,” has just completed a rewrite of Gardner’s script. Hedges also is adapting the Jonathan Tropper novel “Everything Changes” for Tobey Maguire and Sony.

Touchstone exec Brad Epstein is overseeing “Dan in Real Life,” Noah Rosen and Darlene Caamanoare exec producing. Project was set up as a spec at the studio with Shestack, who with Armyan Bernstein and Basil Iwanyk just produced Harrison Ford starrer “Firewall” for Warner Bros.

Carell is in the midst of filming episodes of the second season of NBC’s “The Office” and recently completed indie “Little Miss Sunshine,” directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris and yet to be set for distribution.

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