For Steve Carell, there’s humor in just about everything — including his own demise.
In his new film, “Seeking a Friend for the End of the World,” opening Friday, the former star of “The Office” plays Dodge Petersen, a normal guy coping with the fact that a meteor is speeding toward Earth and will, upon impact in 21 days’ time, destroy all known life.
It’s something of a comedy.
“We’re all faced with that inevitability — the end will happen for all of us,” Carell tells the Daily News. “This movie, though, is a very accelerated version of that. How do people prioritize, what do they do and how do they act?
“Everyone is so different in terms of their wants and needs, and when something raises the stakes to such a high point, it creates a pressure cooker. But that also fuels a lot of the film’s comedy.”
Indeed, there are some end-of-days laughs in “Seeking a Friend,” which follows Dodge after his wife deserts him and he attempts to find meaning in mankind’s final weeks of life. After crossing paths with his neighbor Penny (Keira Knightley), the two help each other find what it is they need: he wants to find a lost love, she’s eager to get to her family in England. Writer-director Lorene Scafaria’s dramedy ends up becoming a combination buddy flick, road movie and love story — with the doomsday clock ticking.
“I think Dodge and Penny are two people who come from vastly different backgrounds, and their worlds are colliding in this very heightened reality,” Carell explains. “They see in each other things they don’t possess in themselves.”
His character, though, does possess an urge to keep everything status quo, even as suicide, panic and fear surround him.
“It’s funny to me that anyone faced with imminent demise would be going in to work and pressing on as if everything is just normal,” he says. “But as I read the script, what I was left with was a sense of the whole thing being a metaphor for life itself.”
With its existential questions and serious underpinnings, the role is certainly a departure for Carell, whose Michael Scott on “The Office” and roles in movies including “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” “Get Smart,” “Date Night,” “Dinner for Schmucks” and “Crazy, Stupid, Love” tended toward straightforward comedy.
But look closer. Because, even within those performances — as in “Little Miss Sunshine” and “Dan in Real Life,” movies that allowed Carell to take his deadpan persona, honed from six years on “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart,” and lace it with pathos — are sometimes painful glimpses of everyman honesty.
It’s not something the Massachusetts-bred Carell says he looks for. It is, though, just where he happened to end up.
“I never thought about my career that way,” he says. “I didn’t even really think about strengths and weaknesses, because initially I had no intention of having comedy as a focus. I just figured being employed was goal number one. I certainly didn’t peg myself as relatable.”
This entry was posted on Sunday, July 8th, 2012 at 4:21 am and is filed under Films, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.