Inside Move: It’s not plain who will play Jane

Diaz, Zeta-Jones frontrunners for role

As Columbia Pictures races to remake “Fun With Dick and Jane” this fall, with Jim Carrey starring and Barry Sonnenfeld helming, the buzz is about who will play Jane. Cameron Diaz is the favorite, with Catherine Zeta-Jones also considered a strong candidate in the Brian Grazer-produced romp about an upper middle class couple that pulls heists to pay bills. No formal offer will be made until a script is ready.

Col’s been talking with scribe Peter Tolan, but will likely first bring in Judd Apatow to crack the code on the comedy. Apatow has been working with Carrey since they began as standup comics. Aside from “The Cable Guy,” he’s done uncredited script work on “Liar Liar” and “Bruce Almighty.” And when Carrey does an awards show or a spot with Jay Leno or David Letterman, Apatow’s the guy who helps him work up new material.

“Bruce Almighty” was a strong comedy that came together quickly, building hopes that “Dick and Jane” can follow the same fast track. Carrey’s reps at UTA and Mosaic want Carrey to do a comedy before he does “Lemony Snicket.” He was prepared to play “Snicket” villain Count Olaf in April, but Paramount dropped Sonnenfeld, hired Brad Silberling to direct, and invited DreamWorks to partner. That pushed the start back to winter, and the film won’t come out until holiday 2004.

While Carrey has “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” coming out this fall, he’s looking at being off the screen more than a year, with a year and a half between comedies if he doesn’t do a film before “Snicket.” The hope is Apatow can solve that problem. Apatow is also scripting “Motorcycle Cop,” the Will Ferrell/Jack Black vehicle at New Line.