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U’s ‘Almighty’ laffer finds leading lady

Graham, Goodman joining Shadyac sequel

Lauren Graham has been cast as the female lead, opposite Steve Carell, in Universal’s “Evan Almighty,” Tom Shadyac’s sequel to “Bruce Almighty.”

Pic, lensing for which is just under way, has also added John Goodman to the cast. Graham will play Carell’s wife, Goodman a congressman who mentors Carell’s character. Pic also stars Morgan Freeman as God.

Producers include Shadyac and partner Michael Bostick via their Shady Acres shingle, Spyglass Entertainment’s Roger Birnbaum and Gary Barber and Neal Moritz through his Original Film banner.

Script by Steve Oedekerk and Shadyac centers on Carell’s Evan Baxter anchorman character, who babbled on air in the original “Bruce.” Evan has become a politician in the sequel and ends up getting an audience with God, who instructs him to build an ark to prepare for a massive flood.

Graham, best known as the lead in TV skein “Gilmore Girls,” has appeared in films “The Pacifier,” “Bad Santa” and “Sweet November.”

Her next feature project is “Because I Said So.”

Goodman will next be seen in “Marilyn Hotchkiss Ballroom Dancing & Charm School,” which Samuel Goldwyn will release later this month.

Overseeing “Evan” for Universal are production prexy Donna Langley, senior VP Holly Bario and creative exec Erik Baiers.