Steve Carell To Play Paleontologist Rival To James Gandolfini In New Movie

Steve Carell is going back in time.

The Anchorman star has just signed on to star in a new HBO movie called Bone Wars, in which he plays the paleontologist rival to James Gandolfini. The period comedy is based on the Great Dinosaur Rush of the 19th century, when a mad scramble was on to discover dinosaur bones.

The actual historical era led to the discovery of 160 species of dinosaur, but execs at HBO are hoping it leads to some laughs. The movie follows the historical battle between Othniel Charles Marsh (James Gandolfini) and Edward Drinker Cope (Steve Carell), onetime friends who turned into rivals as they scrambled to make new discoveries.

Their professional rivalry turns sour as they two engage in espionage, bribery, and eventually complete sabotage.

Bone Wars is still in development, with HBO still searching for a writer. Gandolfini is signed on as executive producer along with Steve Carell.

While production inches forward on Bone Wars, Steve Carell is busy filming Anchorman 2. In late March he appeared on VH1′s Big Morning Buzz Live With Carrie Keagan to talk about the sequel to the 2004 film. Carell said the movie, tentatively titled Anchorman: The Legend Continues, is the “perfect” sequel.

The movie takes place seven years after the original film, which would make it 1982. The setting of the film has changed from San Diego to New York, but producers aren’t giving away too much about Steve Carell’s character, Brick Tambland. The cast received advice in their scripts not to spoil any of Tambland’s jokes.

The movie has already attracted a number of big-name stars, including Kristin Wiig and Harrison Ford.

There was a little less to go by for the other Steve Carell project, Bone Wars. Once a writer is selected the movie is expected to see more in the way of a solid development schedule.