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Charlie Kaufman to lower Steve Carell’s IQ

Screenwriter Charlie Kaufman, known for writing movies that require mental gymnastics, and Steve Carell, who was on a hit TV show playing a really stupid guy, are meeting in the middle, for a film about a virus that lowers people’s IQs. Kaufman is taking time off from shopping his pilot that was too weird for FX to do a page one rewrite of IQ 83, based on the 1978 science-fiction novel by Arthur Herzog. Carell is set to star as a scientist who races to find a cure for the virus while consistently growing dumber, which is a pretty retro choice for a guy who is totally over making you laugh.

Deadline reports that Paramount wants the film to be a “scathing satire” along the lines of Dr. Strangelove. This sounds like something the guy who wrote Being John Malkovich and Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind could knock out of the park—by which we mean pull the story inside out and add at least three extra levels of buffoonery that somehow translate into soul-crushing sadness. Or, knowing Kaufman’s love of meta-tastic rabbit holes, maybe he’ll intentionally write a movie that becomes awful as it goes along to mimic the progressing stupidity of his protagonists. Really, there are no rules—just ask Susan Orlean.

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