Paramount placed the film back into development at that point, but they've once again returned to the project – and Deadline is reporting that they're bringing some heavy firepower along with them this time out. Oscar-winning scribe Eric Roth is now onboard to refine and rewrite the 'Ripley's' script in hopes of getting the production moving forward once more.
Roth, who won the Oscar for 'Forrest Gump' and has also written 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button' and 'The Insider,' inherits a project that currently has no director. After Burton's departure, Chris Columbus was attached to 'Ripley's' (along with screenwriter John Collee), but that tandem couldn't get the biopic up and running either. One thing Roth does have is Jim Carrey. The rubber-faced comedian, who's added dramatic roles to his repertoire in recent years, is still headlining the film.
Carrey is set to play Robert Ripley, a newspaper columnist who traveled the world in search of strange people and bizarre wonders. He then catalogued these people and places in that column (which later spawned several museums and television series). Roth's script will focus on Ripley's quest to find the subjects of his writing and how he comes to view them as real people and not merely sideshow oddities. Sounds quite touching.
It remains to be seen if Ripley's story will resonate with audiences. If Paramount returns to the $175 million budget range, it means they're expecting the film to be a hit with a great deal of crossover appeal – which seems a little odd given the subject matter. 'Ripley's Believe It or Not' has always worked because of the odd people and places – not because of the man behind it. Will audiences who equate the 'Ripley's' experience with hosts Jack Palance or Dean Cain be interested in seeing Jim Carrey play the man who started it all? Only time will tell.