A few months ago it was announced that Noah Baumbach and Ben Stiller were thinking about continuing their collaboration (after Greenberg) with an adaptation of the children’s book Mr. Popper’s Penguins. However it seems both have headed off to different projects, leaving Fox to find some replacements.
Variety reports that they may have done just that, with Mark Waters (Mean Girls, Freaky Friday, Ghosts Of Girfriends Past) circling to direct, and Jim Carrey eyeing the main role, although both Jack Black and Owen Wilson are said to be in the mix for the lead. As yet, the studio isn’t officially commenting on who they’re talking to, but it seems they’re planning a big, minastream, family friendly film. Indeed it may be a resistance to quikiness that scared off Baumbach.
Although not particularly well known over here, the 1938 book is well-loved in the US and tells the tale of a house painter whose dreams of explorations lead him to send letters to explorers. One of them unexpectedly sends him a penguin, and after acquiring a female to go alongside it, Mr Popper is soon dealing with a whole litter of the birds. He eventually sets up a troupe of performing penguins so he can afford to keep them, although all this invitably causes choas.
20th Century Fox has actually been planning an adaptation of Mr Popper’s Penguins for a couple of years, long before Stiller and Baumbach became interested, with Sean Anders and John Morris working on the script. If all goes well, the movie will hits cinemas in 2012.