Steve Carell has been slowly transitioning toward more dramatic roles ever since he quit The Office to focus on his rising film career, but some of his choices have sounded a bit questionable, at least on paper. One of the stranger ones he’s been attached to is the lead in The Dogs of Babel, an adaptation of Carolyn Parkhurst‘s debut novel.

The premise of the story — a grieving man tries to teach his dog to speak — is so aggressively quirky that it’s easy to see how the film could veer away from heartfelt toward silly or schmaltzy. So it’s something of a relief to hear that Mandate Pictures has tapped a guy who may actually be able to pull off that tough balancing act: Once director John Carney. More details after the jump.

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Screen rights to Carolyn Parkhurst‘s novel The Dogs of Babel have kicked around Hollywood for a couple of years. There was a point where Todd Phillips was attached to direct when the film was at Focus Features. It is now house at Mandate Pictures, which has just set Steve Carell to produce and star in the film about a professor who endeavors to teach his dog to talk. By the way, this is a drama. Read More »