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Steve Carell Plays Cop in "Sleepover"

Comedian Carell Takes Charge in Teen Comedy

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Steve Carell
Photo By Rebecca Murray
On the set of "Sleepover," the updated version of the classic teen comedy, "Can't Buy Me Love," Steve Carell stands out as one of the movie's few adult actors. In this interview with the comic actor, Steve Carell explains what it feels like to work with a group of teenage actresses, and how "The Daily Show" has propelled him onto the big screen.

What’s your character in “Sleepover?”
My name’s Sherman Shiner and I’m the security guard for Patrol Tech Security. I am their arch-nemesis - I am the girls’ worst nightmare.

What sort of trouble do you catch them in?
I catch them doing all sorts of things they shouldn’t be doing, in the windows in malls, running around the city, making general mayhem. I am there to clean up the neighborhood and to make it safe for God-fearing law-abiding citizens.

So you’re an authority figure.
I am the ultimate authority figure. If there was a Navy SEAL/Army Ranger made into a security guard, this guy would be it.

Where does the comedy come into your role?
It’s all the moustache. That’s it. It’s all in this (pointing to his moustache). [Sherman’s] fake facial hair.

Can you grow a real moustache?
I can, actually. I grew a moustache when I was in high school. For this, I didn’t have time. I need about three solid weeks to grow a decent moustache.

Some adult actors are a little apprehensive working with a lot of teenage co-stars. What’s been your experience working with these girls?
I’ve never really worked with this aged actor before. I think you go in with apprehensions thinking, “Are these going to be spoiled brats? Are they going to be awful and not be able to handle the level of success that they’ve garnered?” These kids are great. They are very professional and yet, they’re not robots. They’re still kids and they’re still having fun. There’s still that joy to what they’re doing. I found them to be nothing but sweet, nice kids.

I think everybody is having fun. I think it’s a very loose set and I think if you can laugh all the way through it, it’s going to register when people go and see the movie. I think on a movie like this or “Bruce Almighty” or anything, if you can see that the people are having a good time, it’s going to play. At home or in the theater you’re going to know that this is just a joy, and that’s what it has been for me so far.

What was it about this script that attracted you?
It was just a fun character. It was silly; it was very broad and ridiculous. There was nothing serious or a huge amount of character development necessary. It was just kind of what it was on the page so I thought that would be fun. I’ve never done a kids movie so I thought that would be fun, too. Maybe someday my daughter can actually watch this.

Is it fun to play the detestable, annoying character?
Absolutely. It’s fun to be the one that everyone hates. I love to be hated. I play it with a sense of humor so it’s clearly just someone who is fun to despise.

Did you ever expect “The Daily Show” to lead to a career in films like you’ve had?
Not at all. I was really surprised actually because of that whole “Bruce Almighty” thing. It was directly connected to “The Daily Show.” The casting director worked with somebody who was a fan of “The Daily Show” and called me in on it from there.

Were you surprised that you ended up stealing a scene in a Jim Carrey movie?
I don’t think anybody steals a scene from Jim Carrey. I was surprised to just be left in the final edit, because you never know when you shoot it. I kept telling my parents, “Don’t expect me to be in this movie at all.” You can never tell. There was another guy who had about the same size part as I did and he was almost completely cut. You just expect that something like that is going to happen. You just expect the worst.

You’ve got another comedy movie opening up next year, “Anchorman.” What’s your role in that movie?
I play a character named Brick Tamland. He’s the idiot weatherman at this San Diego TV station in the ‘70s.

Is he modeled after anybody we’d know?
No, I wouldn’t go that far. I won’t go on the record that it’s officially based on anybody. It’s kind of a conglomeration of every weatherman you have or haven’t seen. It’s a local news station and essentially all of these guys are weenies. That’s going to be really funny. Will Ferrell is one of the nicest, funniest guys I’ve ever met. He is the greatest guy.

Do you wear any cool ‘70s outfits?
I wear so many cool ‘70s outfits. I’m the only one in the movie who wears a 3-piece suit. I wore a wool and polyester 3-piece suit all summer, outside. There were some days that it was 105 degrees. It was ugly (laughing). It was an ugly, ugly thing. I did not smell well.

Are you finished filming?
We finished “Anchorman” in early September. If there was an “Anchorman 2,” I would gladly put on the 3-piece suit. That was a joy.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:
Alexa Vega, Mika Boorem and Director Joe Nussbaum Interviews
"Sleepover" Movie News
"Anchorman" Movie Resources

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