Steve Carell is crazy, stupid busy making movies
BY DENNIS KING
NEW YORK â As Steve Carell seems poised to become his generationâs Jack Lemmon â an Everyman actor capable of playing broad comedy and self-mocking satire as well as subtle drama and touching romantic roles â he is characteristically modest about his burgeoning stature in Hollywood.
His transition from a sketch player in Chicagoâs Second City improv troupe to TV fame (on âThe Daily Show With Jon Stewartâ and âThe Officeâ) to supporting parts in film comedies such as âBruce Almightyâ and âBewitchedâ has now led him to what they call in the movie business âabove the titleâ status. That is, he now stars in and shares production and writing duties on many of his projects.
Since breaking through as a leading man in âThe 40-Year-Old Virgin,â Carell has mixed up his movie resume with ensemble work (âLittle Miss Sunshineâ), big-budget studio parts (âGet Smartâ), mainstream romantic comedies (âDate Nightâ with Tina Fey) and modest heart-tuggers (âDan in Real Lifeâ).
During press interviews hosted by Warner Bros. at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Carell fielded questions about one of the filmâs riskier choices â putting the script by animation writer Dan Fogelman (âTangled,â âCars,â âBoltâ) in the hands of offbeat co-directors Glenn Ficarra and John Requa.
As directors of the wildly off-kilter âI Love You Phillip Morrisâ and screenwriters of the decidedly dark âBad Santa,â the pair hardly seemed an obvious choice to direct a multilayered romantic comedy about family, relationships and love.
âCrazy, Stupid, Loveâ tracks the travails of middle-age family man Cal Weaver (Carell) as his marriage falls apart and he struggles to hold together his relationships with his children, re-enter the dating world and find a new spark of hope in his life.
âWe didnât want it to be the typical romantic comedy. We didnât want it to be a cliche,â Carell said. âAnd thatâs something that the directors shared (with the producers). Their sensibility was very much in line with mine in terms of what we thought the movie could be.â
However, Carell did admit that some people found the choice of directors strange.
âI donât find them strange at all,â he said. âYou can say that a person is strange or their work is strange, but thatâs not necessarily one and the same.
âWe looked at âI Love You Phillip Morrisâ and âBad Santa,â and we met with them and we talked about the script, and we found out how they envisioned it.
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