Steve Carell in Early Talks for Lisa Cholodenko’s ‘Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day’
Posted on Tuesday, April 10th, 2012 by Angie Han
Oh Steve Carell, what aren’t you in talks for these days? Having recently wrapped Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, Hope Springs, and The Incredible Burt Wonderstone — and attached himself to Despicable Me 2, Foxcatcher, Lunatics, The Dogs of Babel, Conviction, and Magic Kingdom for Sale — SOLD! — Carell is now said to be circling Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, a live-action adaptation of the Judith Viorst children’s book. Lisa Cholodenko (The Kids Are All Right) has been signed on to direct since last year. More details after the jump.
First published in 1972, Viorst’s 32-page picture book has endured as a classic of children’s literature. As the title suggests, the story revolves around a boy named Alexander who’s having one of those days. You know the kind:
“I went to sleep with gum in my mouth and now there’s gum in my hair and when I got out of bed this morning I tripped on the skateboard and by mistake I dropped my sweater in the sink while the water was running and I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.” So begin the trials and tribulations of the irascible Alexander, who has been earning the sympathy of readers since 1972. People of all ages have terrible, horrible days, and Alexander offers us the cranky commiseration we crave as well as a reminder that things may not be all that bad. As Alexander’s day progresses, he faces a barrage of bummers worthy of a country- western song: getting smushed in the middle seat of the car, a dessertless lunch sack, a cavity at the dentist’s office, stripeless sneakers, witnessing kissing on television, and being forced to sleep in railroad-train pajamas. He resolves several times to move to Australia.
Deadline reports that Carell is eyeing the role of “Ben.” It’s not clear who Ben is, since he’s certainly not the protagonist, but depending on how faithful the movie remains to the book there are a few different options. Among the adult characters Alexander crosses paths with over the course of his shitty day are his dentist, his father, and his teacher (who is female in the book).
I have fond memories of reading this book as a kid and I bet you do, too. But I am a bit concerned about the challenges of stretching a short children’s tale into a feature-length film. Spike Jonze’s Where the Wild Things Are tried admirably to pull 100+ minutes out of just 300 or so words, but couldn’t help feeling padded. More recently, the animated Dr. Seuss adaptation The Lorax suffered from a similar problem.
If Alexander has to get made into a movie, though, Carell seems like a decent choice to star. Carell’s found success with kids’ films before, in Horton Hears a Who! and Despicable Me. Though both of those were animated, Carell has a sweet, playful appeal that I imagine would translate well to live action family fare as well.