Exclusive: Jim Carrey Circling ‘Popper's Penguins’

Jack Black and Owen Wilson are also among the names being considered

EXCLUSIVE

Jim Carrey is circling 20th Century Fox's big-screen adaptation of "Mr. Popper's Penguins," individuals familiar with the casting process tell TheWrap.

Apparently, Ben Stiller dropped out of the project when Noah Baumbach left the director's chair, and the studio's top choice is Carrey, with Jack Black and Owen Wilson also among the names being considered. However, Carrey would definitely be the best fit for the kooky title character — and he could use a family-friendly, live-action hit.

Additionally, the studio has had preliminary talks with "Mean Girls" director Mark Waters, although no deal has been signed yet.

Richard and Florence Atwater's Newbery Award-winning 1938 children's book follows a house painter who writes letters to adventurous Arctic explorers. When one of them sends him a penguin, Mr. Popper gets his hands on a female penguin from a zoo and inevitably, nature takes its course, producing 12 baby penguins who proceed to run amok in his house. He's forced to take them on the road as a stage act called Popper's Performing Penguins.

John Davis (Fox's upcoming "Predators") is producing the film, which the "Hot Tub Time Machine" team of Sean Anders and John Morris have been writing since they were brought on to adapt the book last year.

Carrey recently starred in "Yes Man" and "A Christmas Carol." He has the controversial comedy "I Love You Phillip Morris" in the can, awaiting release.