Jim Carrey may star in Lemony Snicket movies. He'd play the macabre children's book series' villainous Count Olaf in what could be a film franchise of Harry Potter-esque proportions

By Gary Susman
September 01, 2002 at 04:00 AM EDT

He played the Grinch, so why shouldn’t Jim Carrey play an even more dastardly kiddie-lit villain? Variety reports that Carrey is in talks to play Count Olaf in the ”Lemony Snicket” film franchise, based on author Snicket’s eight-volume (and counting) saga ”A Series of Unfortunate Events.” Carrey’s involvement would be good news for Paramount Pictures, which is hoping to turn the most popular children’s book series not about student wizards into a ”Harry Potter”-sized movie franchise.

In the mordant book series, Olaf is the unibrowed bad guy who tries to separate the three young Baudelaire orphans from their inheritance. Daniel Handler, author Snicket’s alter ego, has already delivered a screenplay for the first movie, and Barry Sonnenfeld, whose ”Addams Family” movies had a similar tone, will direct.

The movie wouldn’t shoot until sometime in 2003, since Carrey is currently shooting the comedy ”Bruce Almighty” with Jennifer Aniston and Morgan Freeman. After that, Carrey is attached to ”Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” which the ”Human Nature” team of director Michel Gondry and screenwriter Charlie Kaufman expect to shoot in early 2003. Meanwhile, the prolific Snicket’s ninth book in the series, ”The Carnivorous Carnival,” goes on sale Oct. 29.

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