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Steve Carell on Evan Almighty

Steve Carell talks about his new film and the pro-bear agenda.

Steve Carell on Evan Almighty

It’s a good thing Steve Carell became such a big star. When Jim Carrey didn’t want to do Bruce Almighty 2, they already had a built-in spin-off. Carell was Carrey’s nemesis in the newsroom in Bruce, but now he’s a Congressman in D.C. When God (Morgan Freeman) asks him to build an ark, he starts growing a Noah beard and has animals following him around. Hey, he makes the daily cubicle grind funny on The Office

CraveOnline:
Have you talked to Stephen Colbert about the pro-bear agenda in this movie?

Steve Carell: The pro-bear agenda?

CraveOnline:
Yeah, I wonder what he’d think of you rescuing the godless killing machines on the ark.

Steve Carell:
I have not talked to Stephen about the godless killing machines. I’m sure he would weigh in on it on his show. And maybe he’ll go after the movie. I hope he goes after the movie on his show, because, of course, that would, in turn be a vote of confidence.

CraveOnline:
How do you feel about people comparing you Jim Carrey?

Steve Carell: I love it. No, I take that as a huge compliment. To even be mentioned in the same sentence with him, that’s a huge complement to me. I’ve watched him and I’ve enjoyed all of his movies. And I was telling somebody when I was living in Chicago, I was there the day before the original Ace Ventura opened. And it was before it had really caught on and people started catching on to him as a movie star. I saw it like within a day and there might have been four people in the theater, a large theater. And from the opening credit sequence, we were howling and I remember the guy in front of me, turning around and looking at me and saying, “I know! I can’t believe it!” Like we had found this thing and the four of us were in a club together and like we were witnessing something. So yeah, to have been in Bruce Almighty and to have been in scenes with him was a real honor to me. Even if I am unfavorable compared to Jim Carrey I take that as a compliment. Thanks.

CraveOnline: This is a biblical movie. What is your philosophy on religion?

Steve Carell:
See, I don’t see it that way. I don’t see it as a biblical comedy. I see it as a fable. I see it as a comedy that is based upon a story of the Old Testament, but I don’t see it as a religious comedy in any way, shape or form. I think it’s a fable, I think it’s a tale about a guy who has to make a huge leap of faith. In terms of my own personal beliefs or convictions? I think that’s such a personal thing that I don’t want that to infuse my promotion of this movie, because I also think that that narrows it. I think the movie is really for anybody. It is for any faith or non-faith. I think the message behind it is just if people could just be a little kinder and take care of each other and the world we live in. And I think that’s a universal theme as opposed to a religious ideology. I’m catholic, but I don’t really feel this is a platform to talk about my own personal beliefs.

CraveOnline: What was your most difficult scene to shoot? Was it the animals or the birds or the hair?

Steve Carell: It was early on. It might have been those birds on me. They were on me for a few days straight. And they were real. That wasn’t a computer-generated flock of birds on me. So, I think the fact they would literally not get off me and I could walk around and I don’t know how they trained them to do it, but they would go nowhere. Frankly, and to be blunt, they were well fed before shooting began. So, that posed it’s own set of difficulties as well.

CraveOnline:
Were the snakes in the car scenes real too?

Steve Carell:
Well, it was interesting, because the snakes that you see are CGI’d. The snakes that they used, they couldn’t use [in the film] because they kept crawling down the back of my jacket. And these were like pythons. These were serious, big, nasty snakes. But they couldn’t use it, because you couldn’t see them. They were there, but they were just like in my clothes. So I had to suffer through that and they generate a snake over me. But, I did suffer for the art. You have to know that.

CraveOnline: Were there any lovable animals or did you hate them all?

Steve Carell: Loveable? Giraffes and elephants, very soulful faces, kind, sweet, gentle. Reprehensible, the baboons were horrifying. There is one scene when the baboons bring me lemonade. And in one take, the baboons spilled the lemonade and I went off book and I improved and said something like, “Hey man? What are you doing” I raised my voice maybe to that degree and the baboon thought I was getting aggressive with it and it bared its teeth and took a very aggressive stance with me. It scared the hell out of me, and after the take the trainer came and said, “You know what, don’t do that. Really don’t talk to the baboon.” And then he paused and said, “You know what? As a matter of fact, don’t look the baboon in the eye.” And I’m like, “What? Why didn’t you tell me before they were shooting not to look the baboon in the eye?” So, they were a little ornery. The camel’s breath. In an enclosed space, a camel’s breath can change the atmosphere of the room. Not only just the smell, they literally seem to change the atmospheric pressure. It’s so disgusting. It’s like they have eight stomachs each more rancid then the next and it just comes out of their mouth. So, those two would probably be the ones I wouldn’t take home as pets.

CraveOnline: How about that long hair and different beards?

Steve Carell: Oh, they were all my favorites I guess. Just in terms of my intrinsic sexiness in them, I would say the mountain man look. That was like the third stage of growth, which to me looked like a ‘70’s tennis pro. Kind of like a Bjorn Borg. A little mystery. Might have been a few days without a shower or bath. A little grubby, a little greasy. I think that is my personal favorite.

CraveOnline:
How tough was the daily regimen to put that on?

Steve Carell: It was fine. The people who applied it were such artists. David Anderson, who is I think is one of the best special effects artists in the business, did all the design and crafting of those wigs and beards and it was about 3-4 hours to put it on in the morning and about an hour to take it off, but I really, I never want to hear myself complaining about it. You hear actors complaining about prosthetic makeup and it’s not fun, but let’s face it. I’m not on a roof in 100-degree weather putting tar down. I’m getting a beard stuck on my face. It’s really not that bad.

CraveOnline: This is PG with lots of funny animals. Is it a kids’ movie?

Steve Carell: I wouldn’t say its a kid’s movie, I think it is a movie and this is sort of a fine line to walk to. Whenever I hear someone describe something as a kids movie or a family movie, it immediately has a negative connotation in my mind because I think, “Well, as an adult, I wouldn’t go see it by myself, because it’s purely for children and it holds nothing for me and it’s simplistic and it’s kind of easy.” I don’t see the movie as that. I see it as, I hope, as having a fairly broad appeal because I think it’s funny. I think it would be very funny for kids, but I think likewise for adults.

CraveOnline: Now that you’re a famous movie star.

Steve Carell: Oh, I’m internationally famous. [Laughs.]

CraveOnline:
How do you think Michael Scott would handle the same task from God?

Steve Carell:
How would Michael Scott, like, become a modern day Noah? Wow, that’s an interesting [question]. Well, he would probably get Creed to come in and build the ark. So, he wouldn’t want to do it himself. And Jan would convince him not to do it because she rides roughshod over him anyway. So, he probably wouldn’t end up doing it, because in his mind, Jan might be more powerful than God himself.

CraveOnline: How is Jenna Fisher doing after her accident?

Steve Carell: She’s doing much better. She’s back in Los Angeles. She will be completely fine. She’s going to kind of lay low. She wasn’t working this summer, so she can kind of just take it easy and start rehabbing it, but she’s going to be fine.

CraveOnline: You work so much and you have a family. How do you do it all?

Steve Carell: I use sports energy drinks. Highly caffeinated sports energy drinks is the answer. I am the type of person who is always waiting for the other shoe to drop. So, I’m not taking any of what is happening now for granted and essentially I know there is a window of time when I’ll be able to do these things and I’m just trying to take advantage of that now. While at the same time, being very cautious to not let it interfere with my family life. That, to me, is the line. If it starts to bleed over to time away from my family, then it’s sort of not going to happen, but so far I’ve been able to balance those things.

CraveOnline:
Are you doing more serious, romantic work in your next movie?

Steve Carell:
You know what? I’m frankly willing to take any job offered me at this point. So I’m pretty amenable. I don’t really have a path set. Like, “I need to do this kind of movie and then that. And then I need to switch it up and play a psychopathic killer and then I need to…” I don’t look at it that way. I thought the script of Dan in Real Life was great and Peter Hedges is a very, very thoughtful filmmaker. And his Pieces of April I thought was fantastic. And he wrote About a Boy and What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. So he’s really an accomplished person, so I thought, “That’s somebody I’d love to work with.” It wasn’t so much, “Oh, I want to do a romantic comedy with Juliette Binoche.” It was more like, “Wow! I think that could be good and interesting and I think the script will be really good.”

CraveOnline:
You play a parenting advice columnist in Dan in Real Life. Did you take your own philosophy for that role?

Steve Carell: Well, it is interesting. It involves a guy who is who fairly recently widowed, like three years, four years before. And he’s been raising these three daughters on his own. And they are reaching a point in their young adult lives, at least two of them that he doesn’t know what to do with. And he still has one who is kind of a baby little girl that he can still manage. But, one of the themes of the movie is that he doesn’t take his own advice and he let’s things sort of get away from him in terms of his own kids. So, did I take my own personal [philosophy]? I don’t know. I don’t even know if I have kind of a personal, like a take or a mental manual of how I’m raising kids. I think with everybody, it’s just day-to-day and you just try to deal with every situation as they come. And I think that’s essentially what that character does as well.
CraveOnline: How much more time do you give yourself for doing The Office?

Steve Carell:
I’ll give them 20 minutes every day for five days straight and that will be it for the season. So, whatever they can get, that’ll be it. No, I love it. I think just in terms of writing and value, nothing beats that. I think it is such a smart group of people and people are really devoted to the show and actors who I think are fantastic, every one of them. We’re very lucky. That sort of group of people doesn’t come together very often in television or in movies. It’s sort of a brain trust in my opinion, especially the writing team. It’s really remarkable. So, I’m extremely happy and still very proud to be a part of it.