Incredible Steve Carell
Steve Carell isn’t afraid to be unlikeable on screen, writes
IVicky Roach N Hollywood, where outlandish behaviour and extreme selfabsorption are pretty much the norm, Steve Carell has a reputation for being almost “too nice”.
Alongside the heightened antics of those surrounding him, the 50- yearold comedian’s average Joe approach to show business can come across as rather ordinary. Even bland.
But having left the relative comfort of the US version of The Offi ce to pursue new challenges, all that might be about to change.
In an interview to promote his latest comedy, The Incredible Burt
Wonderstone, co- starring Steve Buscemi and Jim Carrey, Carell begins the conversation in an uncharacteristically blunt manner.
“Are you the one who called me out at Sundance?” he challenges, purely on the basis of accent.
Carell isn’t being hostile, exactly. But he is defi nitely on the front foot.
Once the unexpected case of mistaken identity has been cleared up, the writer- actor- producer feels compelled to explain.
“There was an Australian journalist at the premiere of The Way, Way
Back,” he says.
“I couldn’t see who she was, but she kept going on and on about how unlikeable my character was in this movie. It was so funny. She had a very visceral reaction.”
The journalist’s response is particularly surprising given the everyman mythology that surrounds the late bloomer, who was in his 40s when he got his fi rst big break in the Judd Apatow comedy The
40- Year- Old Virgin. So no more Mr Nice Guy? “Apparently in this one not so much.”
Carell sees that as a good thing.
“Well, that’s what I was going for. It clearly worked.”
Although the actor is a stickler for good manners in real life, he is not afraid to be unlikeable on screen.
“I just try to play it on what I see in the character and how it’s written and give myself over to that.” And that has obviously paid off. The
Way, Way Back has just scored the biggest distribution deal in Sundance history. ( The same festival that launched art- house hit Little Miss Sunshine.)
In The Incredible Burt
Wonderstone, Carell plays a Las Vegas magician whose creative sparkle has been dulled by affl uence and success.
But the actor reckons that being at the top of their game also offers a performer the freedom to fail.
“If people perceive you to have everything, what do you have to lose? It’s not like people can take away the work that you have done before.”
For the moment, however, he is content to dabble in magic.
“It’s sort of like Santa Claus for adults, something that is just more fun to allow yourself to believe in, even though you know it can’t possibly true.
“I don’t think grown- ups allow themselves to do that very often.” THE INCREDIBLE BURT WONDERSTONE
Now showing Village Cinemas
Steve Carell, front, and Steve Buscemi star in new comedy
The Incredible Burt Wonderstone.