Arthur Herzog’s 1978 science fiction novel I.Q. 83 is going to be turned into a starring vehicle for Steve Carell at Paramount, after being rewritten by screenwriter Charlie Kaufman (Being John Malkovich, Adaptation).
Deadline reports that Carell and Kaufman have come aboard the somewhat troubled project, which has a goal of reshaping Herzog’s serious novel into a scathing satirical work that aims to be on-par with Stanley Kubrick’s classic 1964 comedy Dr. Strangelove. The original book details a doctor who has to fight against the appearance of a new virus that actively makes the afflicted lose intelligence over time, effectively “dumbing them down.” The doctor has to try and find a cure even as he himself battles his own lowering intelligence, and watches the world outside descend into chaos as a result of the new virus.
Carell has reportedly been cast as Dr. James Healey, the book’s protagonist, in the film which definitely has satire potential (especially considering the current media insanity surrounding Ebola), even if it’s not a part of the original work. Kaufman seems an excellent choice to bring a satirical element to the concept, since his body of work is generally regarded as pretty thoughtful in addition to being emotional (which is a hard balance to pull off). Arthur Herzog himself used to work as a speechwriter and assistant to President Kennedy, which helped inform much of his work on his books, including I.Q. 83.
According to the Deadline piece, producer Andrew Lazar has been trying to get this project off the ground for 20 years, but a rotating group of screenwriters never conceived a script that conformed with the ultimate goals for the project. Kaufman’s reputation as a thoughtful writer and an effective storyteller may be the break that the project has been looking for, though we’ll have to wait and see when the film ultimately moves into production. Casting the lead seems like a very positive step for the project, though. For more on I.Q. 83 as it develops, be sure to check out GeekNation!
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