For the Carells, ‘End of the World’ is a family affair
BY DENNIS KING
NEW YORK – In the opening scene of the apocalyptic romance “Seeking a Friend for the End of the World,” Steve Carell’s doleful character Dodge is sitting in a car with his obviously unhappy wife (who happens to be played by Carell’s real wife Nancy) when they get the news that a massive asteroid is hurtling toward Earth and humankind has only three weeks before certain obliteration.
Without a word, the wife looks balefully at her workaday husband, opens the car door and dashes away, never to be seen again.
For Carell, it was a comic scene freighted with loads of real-life baggage and the added nuance that it was shot on the couple’s 17th wedding anniversary. The Carells, parents to two children, met while they were both writer-performers in the famed Second City comedy troupe in Chicago. Nancy Carell is featured in supporting roles in a number of films, including “Bridesmaids” and “The 40 Year Old Virgin.”
“Yeah, we literally shot that scene on our anniversary, where we get the news about the end of the world and she pulls out of the car and runs away,” Carell said during a press day for the film hosted by Focus Features at the Waldorf Astoria. “But before she goes she shoots me this look that, frankly, I’m not unfamiliar with in real life. This very dagger-eyed look.”
What does a dagger-eyed look mean?
“It means I’m in trouble, in some way, shape or form,” Carell said. “I rarely know exactly what it is, but I know it’s a bad thing. It doesn’t happen very often, but it does happen.”
But in this case, it was only acting, so Carell said he took it in stride.
“It was all in fun, and (writer-director Lorene Scafaria) got us a cake and everything,” the actor said. “It was nice for us to be able to spend our anniversary together – working.”
“Seeking a Friend …” tells the offbeat tale of two mismatched lovers, Dodge and Penny (Carell and Keira Knightley), who pair up on a final quest to tie up life’s loose ends as a doom-dealing asteroid bears down on the Earth.
Carell agrees that it’s an unconventional choice for a newly minted leading man –following on the heels of his well-received romantic comedy “Crazy Stupid Love.” But he said it fits neatly into his philosophy of choosing roles that defy people’s easy expectations.
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