Cars' writer Dan Fogelman wrote screenplay for 'Office' star

In a deal worth nearly $2 million against $2.5 million, Warner Bros. has purchased an untitled spec script by “Cars” scribe Dan Fogelman that is a star vehicle for Steve Carell.

Pic will be produced by Carell’s Carousel banner, with Charlie Hartsock and Vance DeGeneres producing with Carell.

Final details of the deal were being ironed out late Thursday, but on the last day before the agencies and studios closed for the holidays, WME and Industry Entertainment brokered arguably the biggest spec script sale of the year. It was the first major buy for recently promoted WB exec Greg Silverman.

Script has a tone comparable to “Love Actually.” Carell will play a father whose life unravels while he deals with a marital crisis and tries to manage his relationship with his children. Industry’s Eryn Brown will co-producer.

Aside from “Cars,” Fogelman wrote the Pixar film “Bolt” as well as “Last Vegas,” which Peter Chelsom will direct early next year for CBS Films, and “My Mother’s Curse,” which Paramount has on fast track for Ann Fletcher (“The Proposal”) to direct and Barbra Streisand to star.

Fogelman wrote the script specifically with Carell in mind, and WB paid a premium for that. Script becomes a candidate for one of two pics Carell will do during his hiatus from “The Office.”

After WB again pushed back “Get Smart 2″ for the second year (WB postponed the film last year so Carell could team with Tina Fey on the Fox comedy “Date Night”), Carell is mulling several candidates for his next film, all produced by his Carousel banner. A top contender is “Mail-Order Groom,” hatched by Fey’s husband, “30 Rock” producer-composer Jeff Richmond, and written by “30 Rock” co-exec producer Robert Carlock and Scott Silveri. Carousel will produce with Fey’s Little Stranger shingle.

Fey would play a single woman who searches for a husband through a service that sends her a peculiar Russian suitor (Carell). Glenn Ficarra and John Requa are rewriting.

Aside from “Date Night,” Carell plays the lead voice in the Universal/Illumination animated film “Despicable Me” and stars with Paul Rudd in Paramount/DreamWorks comedy “Dinner for Schmucks,” which opens July 23.

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