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Godly sequel to ‘Almighty’

Carrey circles 'Ark' for laffer follow-up

Sony Pictures Entertainment, Universal Pictures and Spyglass are in talks to mount a “Bruce Almighty” sequel based on the Bobby Florsheim/Josh Stolberg script “The Passion of the Ark.”

Talks are just getting under way, but the plan is to court Jim Carrey to reprise and to have Tom Shadyac return as director.

Though Carrey almost always turns down sequels — he starred in “Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls” — he has left the door open for another installment after the first proved to be the biggest-grossing hit of his career.

Carrey and Shadyac have also scored with “Ace Ventura, Pet Detective” and “Liar Liar.” Scribe Steve Oedekerk will be enlisted to refit “Ark” into a sequel, sources said. The “Ark” script could work with another actor, who’d play a widowed writer who’s chosen by God to prepare for the second great flood.

Early plan calls for U to run production and likely distribute domestically. Given that “Bruce Almighty” grossed $485 million worldwide, the U/Spyglass talks to share are surprising. The key is the Florsheim/Stolberg script that, when shopped in April, was flooded with seven-figure offers.

In a deal worth $1.5 million against $2.5 million, the script went to SPE and producer Neal Moritz, with Dave Phillips and Matt Luber exec producing. It is believed to be a record for unproduced writers.

Shadyac, who was part of an unsuccessful “Ark” bid with Universal, was in contact with SPE brass because he’s circling the comedy “Twist of Fate.” Shadyac’s enthusiasm sparked the studios to begin talking. SPE and U have partnered in the past on such films as “Erin Brockovich” and Spyglass partners Roger Birnbaum and Gary Barber recently took a deal at SPE.

Turning a free-standing script into a sequel is not unprecedented. After fruitless attempts to make a third installment of “Die Hard,” Fox finally took the Jonathan Hensleigh’s script “Simon Says” and redrafted it as a vehicle for Bruce Willis’ John McClane cop character.

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