Five years ago, Fox shelled out $1 million in a bidding war over Edwin Cannistraci and Frederick Seton‘s raunchy Black List comedy Pierre Pierre, and quickly set Jim Carrey to star and Jason Reitman to direct. And then… nothing. The project languished, and Reitman eventually dropped out. He was replaced by Larry Charles (Borat, Bruno, The Dictator) in 2010 — but there was still no real movement on the picture.

Now the other half of that original team, Carrey, has walked away as well. Stepping into the lead role instead will be Russell Brand, who’s recently been juggling feature roles with his FX talk show Brand X. More details after the jump.

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Larry Charles

Deadline is reporting that Borat/Bruno helmer Larry Charles has signed on to direct the Jim Carrey comedy Pierre Pierre. This isn’t a huge surprise considering the project has always been described as being simular to Bruno/Borat. The story follows a “self-indulgent, lazy, French nihilist who is transporting a stolen Mona Lisa from Paris to London.” Through the journey, “he comes to love his home country again.” They are hoping to shoot the movie for just over $20 million.

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Jason Reitman

While at the Telluride Film Festival, I had the chance to talk to Academy Award-nominated director Jason Reitman about his new, and much buzzed about film, Up in the Air. I conducted the interview in conjunction with my friend Alex from FirstShowing, filmed “up in the air,” (get it?) in a gondola traveling up and down the mountains of Telluride Colorado. This is probably the most unique interview I’ve ever been apart of, and it turned out pretty well. It’s a definite must watch, even if you haven’t seen the film (no spoilers are discussed). Watch the interview now embedded after the jump.
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Jason Reitman has officially signed on to team up with Jim Carrey on a comedy titled Pierre Pierre (yay!) for Fox Atomic (barf). You first heard about this project on /Film in early December 2007, before Juno became a monster hit at the box office.

Pierre Pierre was ranked the 11th hottest screenplay in Hollywood in the Black List, an annual poll of 150 development executives and high-level assistants. Here is what I wrote about the project in December:

“Fox Searchlight paid close to a million dollars upfront for the screenplay by Edwin Cannistraci & Frederick Seton. Described as simular to Bruno/Borat, the story follows a “self-indulgent, lazy, French nihilist who is transporting a stolen Mona Lisa from Paris to London.” Through the journey, “he comes to love his home country again.” Jason Reitman (Juno, Thank You For Smoking) was in talks to direct, with Jim Carrey in talks to star.”

Well the project is now set up at Fox Atomic (boo!) with a budget pegged at $13 million, and is being prepped as a potential vehicle after the possible actors strike. So this will not be Jason Reitman’s next film, and I’m sure we’ll get an announcement on that soon enough. Reitman is also producing Jennifer’s Body, starring Megan Fox, directed by Karen Kusama, from a script by Oscar winning screenwriter Diablo Cody, also set up at Fox Atomic.

Jason, I loved Thank You For Smoking, and was one of the biggest cheerleaders of Juno in the webspace, but please please, get as far away from Fox Atomic as fast as you can. Go back to Searchlight.

Discuss: Jim Carrey as a self-indulgent French nihilist transporting a stolen painting? Does that even sound like a Jason Reitman movie?