EXCLUSIVE: In what shapes up as his first feature project after leaving The Office, Steve Carell will star in Seeking A Friend For The End of The World. The film marks the directorial debut of its screenwriter, Lorene Scafaria. Keira Knightley is in negotiations for the female lead. Mandate Pictures and Indian Paintbrush will co-finance and production begins in May. The film takes place at a time when mankind is forced to absorb the fact that an incoming asteroid will end humanity. Carell plays a man suddenly alone when his wife leaves in a panic. His high school sweetheart writes him saying she wants to be with him when the world stops. His neighbor (Knightley) accompanies him on the road trip as love blooms at the worst possible time. Despite the doomsday climax, the film has a somewhat comic and romantic tone.
Anonymous Content’s Steve Golin and Joy Gorman will produce with Steven Rales and Mark Roybal from Indian Paintbrush. Mandate’s Nathan Kahane and Nicole Brown will be exec producers. It is the second collaboration between Mandate and Indian Paintbrush: they recently wrapped the Jason Reitman-directed Young Adult, which was scripted by Diablo Cody and stars Charlize Theron and Patton Oswalt. Paramount will release the film.
Scafaria, best known for scripting Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist, drew strong interest from a number of actors and actresses who met with her about making the film. She sparked to Carell and Knightley. Several distributors are interested, but it’s unclear if the financiers will make a deal before the film is shot. The package was put together by WME, which reps Carell (with Media Four), Knightley (with United Agents) and Scafaria (with Anonymous Content).