40- some­thing ways to get the girl.

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Front Page -

Ev­ery­one’s favourite 40-year-old vir­gin is now go­ing to su­per-stud

school, writes Molly Eichel TO Steve Carell, the fun­ni­est char­ac­ters don’t know whether they are in a com­edy or tragedy.

‘‘ They’re just liv­ing and that’s not for them to de­cide,’’ Carell says. ‘‘ You and I don’t know whether our lives are comedic or dra­matic. It’s just what we’re do­ing, it’s just how we’re mov­ing through the day.’’

To prove his point, Carell ( pic­tured) ref­er­ences a prom­i­nent line in the trailer for his lat­est com­edy-drama movie Crazy,

Stupid, Love, for which he was in Mel­bourne re­cently for the red car­pet pre­miere.

His soon-to-be ex-wife, played by Julianne Moore, con­fesses how she wanted out of their mar­riage.

‘‘ You know when I told you I had to work late? I re­ally went to go see the new Twi­light movie by my­self and it was so bad,’’ she says, break­ing into tears.

Carell says: ‘‘ There’s so much pain and suf­fer­ing in her voice and it’s such a sad scene, but it’s such a funny ob­ser­va­tion to me. And I think you can have it both ways.

‘‘ You just play the char­ac­ter as hon­estly as pos­si­ble and it should be funny within that con­text.’’

His the­ory holds true for his most mem­o­rable char­ac­ters: the ob­nox­ious boss who be­lieves he is uni­ver­sally loved when the op­po­site is true ( The Of­fice ); the har­ried fa­ther and hus­band putting his life on the line to rekin­dle the dy­ing spark of his mar­riage ( Date Night ); the 40-year-old vir­gin ( must we spell it out for you?). Even his per­sona as a Daily

Show correspondent – the overly se­ri­ous fool – never had a whiff of Jon Ste­wart’s self-dep­re­ca­tion or Stephen Col­bert’s tongue-incheek shtick. When we meet Cal Weaver in

Crazy, Stupid, Love, he ap­pears as a tragic char­ac­ter. One mo­ment he’s at din­ner with his wife and the next she’s con­fess­ing to hav­ing an af­fair and he’s jump­ing out of a car to avoid the en­su­ing dis­cus­sion.

‘‘ This guy, I feel, truly has his head in the sand and is some­body who has be­come very, very com­pla­cent,’’ Carell says. En­ter Ja­cob ( Ryan Gosling), a su­per stud who teaches Cal how to en­snare women with lit­tle or no emo­tional in­volve­ment.

‘‘ My char­ac­ter is sort of an un­will­ing ladies’ man. It’s kind of the ‘ be care­ful what you wish for, be­cause you just might get it’,’’ Carell says. ‘‘ It’s about a guy who learns that when you achieve some­thing, it’s re­ally not what you wanted at all.’’

Carell is not typ­i­cal lead­ing man ma­te­rial. He doesn’t play the guy who gets the girl, un­less he suf­fers to­tal em­bar­rass­ment first.

But Carell says Gosling was just as un­com­fort­able with the Casanova role, which is hard to be­lieve, con­sid­er­ing what Ryan Gosling looks like.

‘‘ You think it would be such an easy task for him,’’ Carell says, mir­ror­ing that in­credulity. But Carell, who pro­duced

Crazy, Stupid, Love, says Gosling’s re­luc­tance added lay­ers to what could be a oned­i­men­sional archetype.

‘‘ Gosling’s char­ac­ter, a lo­cal lothario, could eas­ily have been in­ter­preted as a very sleazy guy, but that’s not how Ryan played him,’’ Carell says. ‘‘ He was a la­dykiller, but he was also en­dear­ing and vul­ner­a­ble at the same time, which I thought was such an ex­cel­lent take.

‘‘ Ryan is so fan­tas­tic and it struck me from day one how comed­i­cally gifted he is.’’ The char­ac­ters in Crazy, Stupid,

Love live in a grey zone. There are no vil­lains or dash­ing he­roes.

‘‘ That’s what re­ally ap­pealed to me about the movie,’’ Carell says. ‘‘ It was funny but it didn’t take an easy cliche path.’’

Screen­writer Dan Fo­gel­man wrote the part with Carell in mind. Carell loved it so much he de­cided to take it on even though this kind of re­la­tion­ship com­edy is a tough sell in the block­buster sea­son, when cars that turn into ro­bots and men in tights grab most of the movie au­di­ence.

‘‘ It’s a chal­leng­ing movie to try to sell: ‘ Well, it has a lot of heart. It’s very hu­man’. Like, ‘ Wow, I’m go­ing to run out to see that’,’’ Carell dead­pans.

‘‘ You can only use what you like as a barom­e­ter and this was the type of movie I wanted to do next. There was some­thing very truth­ful to me about it. And be­cause of that, it’s even fun­nier.’’

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