The Dramatic Future of Steve Carell

In the tradition of many comedians before him, the 48-year-old veteran is heading into more serious territory. Careful, Steve! Also today: two big stars sign on to TV projects, the zombie genre gets another treatment, and we gauge the success of murder.

  • Steve Carell is leaving The Office at the end of this year. We all know this. So what movies is he going to be doing now that he's a free man? Well, we recently heard that he'll be playing Meryl Streep's marriage counselor in an upcoming comedy. OK, sounds good. But how about this: he's also just signed on to star in a drama called The Dogs of Babel, based on a novel about a man who finds his wife dead in his backyard. He suspects it was foul play, but the only witness was the family dog. So, he sets out to teach the dog how to talk so she can tell him what happened. So it's a quirky drama, not a straight-up stark 'n' gritty Drama. Still, Carell is enjoyable in dramedy (ick) parts like the ones he had in Little Miss Sunshine and Dan in Real Life (despite what some might say about the overall quality of those movies), so this should be up his alley. Just please don't go all late-'90s Robin Williams on us, Steve. A serious role once in a while is perfectly fine, but no one wants to spend too much time with the overly sensitive clown. We do not need another What Dreams May Come. We did not need the first one. [THR]
  • The ever-growing ABC Family network has been giving series orders to various pilots recently, the most recent being The Lying Game, about a girl who finds out she has an identical twin sister and switches places with her so the twin can go investigate the mystery of their birth mother. But then the twin goes missing and the original girl doesn't know what to do — confess her true identity and risk danger, or stay quiet? So it's basically The Parent Trap, only with more intrigue and murder. But only slightly more. If we're talking the new version of that movie, you just know that in a couple years time Chessy was totally going to murder Martin in a drunken rage. And then she would have kidnapped Hallie and driven away like mad, the Napa sky blood-red behind her. That was absolutely going to happen eventually. (This Lying Game show also sounds a lot like the Sarah Michelle Gellar pilot about a girl who switches place with her twin. A trend!) [Deadline]
  • The oft-overlooked Minnie Driver has signed on to play the lead in a new CBS pilot called Hail Mary. She'll be playing a weather girl named Mary. (No, but wouldn't that be a great?) She'll be playing "a suburban single mom who teams up with a street-smart hustler to solve crimes." Aha. Man are there a lot of shows about amateurs gone a'sleuthing. It's just a trendy trend! Or maybe it just seems that way because I finally, finally decided to listen to you jerks and watch Veronica Mars, and... Well, let's just say that I'd appreciate it if you kept the Toldja So's to a minimum. It's good, OK? It's a good television show. [EW]
  • Sigh. Sony has acquired the rights to a script based on a comic called Zombies vs. Robots. It's about a girl who's the last survivor on Earth and is protected by a group of robots from evolved zombies who want to kill her or something. Can we just... I mean, man do we beat down and strangle and bleed dry popular movie tropes really quickly these days. I feel like zombies have been back on the radar for all of five years maybe but just like that I'm feeling very ENOUGH ZOMBIES FOREVER. (And I love zombies!) I know that's not a terribly original sentiment, probably because the trend of bitching about movie trends has also gotten stale. So I don't know what to say. Go ahead, Hollywood. Feast on the brains, eat the whole carcass. What can we do anymore? [Deadline]
  • Beloved TV torturer Kiefer Sutherland may soon be back on the airwaves. He's agreed to star in a pilot called Touch, from Tim Kring. That's the one about the guy who realizes that his autistic son can see the future. So I guess he teams up with his son to.... solve mysteries? Yeah, probably. And they're probably mostly murder mysteries. I wish people would spend more time solving other, non-murder-related mysteries. There are so many! I wish Touch was about Bill O'Reilly talking with an autistic boy and saying "How'd it get there? C'mon." a lot. That would be a bipartisan hit for sure. [THR]
  • Last night's somewhat-hyped Lifetime movie Amanda Knox: Murder On Trial in Italy did pretty well in the ratings, with 2.8 million curious eyeballs tuning in. While a success, it didn't come close to the recent boffo numbers of The Craigslist Killer, which pulled in 5.4 million viewers. It just goes to show you: why send a woman to do a man's job? Which, in this case, is sensational murder. [Deadline]