Dimension Films has transformed the 1970s TV series “The Six Million Dollar Man” into a potential tentpole, making it a comic pairing between Jim Carrey and director Todd Phillips. Phillips will team with “Old School” writing partner Scot Armstrong to script a vehicle for Carrey to play the bionic man.

Based on the Martin Caidin novel “Cyborg” that was turned into the Lee Majors ABC drama series, “The Six Million Dollar Man” has been tinkered with several times as a screen property. Dimension owns the book while U niversal owns rights to the television series, and while the former has taken the creative lead, Universal has the option to come aboard as co-production partner.

The long-in-development action film became a fast-tracked comedy after Carrey and his managers Jim Miller and Eric Gold had the idea to marry an exaggerated sendup of an action film to the six million dollar man title.

Carrey pitched a take of the movie that persuaded Phillips to make a deal. He and Armstrong will begin writing as soon as they complete scripting the Dimension remake of “School For Scoundrels,” which Phillips plans to direct next.

The studio sparked to getting its first comic vehicle with Carrey at a time when the actor’s international bankability is at bionic levels: “Bruce Almighty” has made over $470 million in worldwide box office gross.

“The teaming of Jim and Todd is the perfect creative combination to launch the franchise,” said Dimension co-chairman Bob Weinstein. “Todd is a director with proven instincts, and Jim is a superstar.”

After Carrey stars with Cameron Diaz in the Dean Parisot-directed Columbia Pictures remake “Fun With Dick and Jane” and Phillips completes “School,” they hope to meet in fall 2004 to get “The Six Million Dollar Man” into production.

Larry Gordon, Lloyd Levin and Scott Fare are producing, Scott Cherrin will co-produce. Scott Budnick, veep of Phillips’Gentlemen Pictures banner, will supervise with Dimension coprexys Andrew Rona and Brad Weston and senior veep Michael Zoumas.

Carrey, who last starred in “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” is currently prepping the Brad Silberling-directed “Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events.” Carrey plays the devilish Count Olaf in the Paramount/DreamWorks adaptation of the Daniel Handler children’s book series.

Phillips, who has a first-look Dimension deal, is completing the Warner Bros./Dimension comedy “Starsky & Hutch,” another ’70s TV drama that has been transformed into a comedy. It stars Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson and Snoop Dogg. Carrey’s agented by UTA, Phillips by WMA.

Date in print: Wed., Oct. 22, 2003, Los Angele

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