In­cred­i­ble Steve Carell

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - FRONT PAGE -

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

MAGIC ACT:

Steve Carell, front, and Steve Buscemi star in new com­edy

The In­cred­i­ble Burt Won­der­stone.

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