McGregor to play romantic lead in dark comedy

Ewan McGregor will play the romantic lead opposite Jim Carrey in “I Love You Phillip Morris,” a dark comedy that marks the directing debut of “Bad Santa” scribes Glenn Ficarra and John Requa.

Mad Chance’s Andrew Lazar will produce with Far Shariat. Luc Besson’s EuropaCorp is fully financing, and Besson is exec producer.

Carrey signed earlier in the fall to star in the fact-based tale as Steven Russell, a married father whose conman ways introduced him to the Texas prison system. There, he fell in love with cellmate Phillip Morris.

His love for Morris motivated his escape from prisons four times, once by using a green pen and bucket of water to change his prison outfit into what appeared to be surgical scrubs, another time by faking his death from AIDS and signing his own death certificate. Morris eventually got out, but Russell’s escapades got him a 144-year sentence.

Ficarra and Requa wrote the script, based on a book by Houston Chronicle crime reporter Steve McVicker.

Production will begin in spring, once Carrey completes starring in “A Christmas Carol,” playing multiple roles in the Robert Zemeckis-directed performance-capture film for Disney.

McGregor just finished “The List,” the Marcel Langenegger-directed drama.

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