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Steve Carell Discusses the Comedy Film, Little Miss Sunshine

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Steve Carell Discusses the Comedy Film, Little Miss Sunshine

Alan Arkin, Steve Carell, Paul Dano, Abigail Breslin, Toni Collette, and Greg Kinnear in Little Miss Sunshine.

© Fox Searchlight
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The Onscreen Relationship Between Steve Carell’s Character and Toni Collette’s: Carell and Collette play brother and sister in the film, and share an interesting relationship. In describing the family dynamics Carell said, “I always got the sense that the two of us were very, very bright kids and had a connection that way. And I always resented the fact she never married beneath her.

There is a little scene that I do with Paul Dano that wasn’t in the final cut. He’s asking me in those notes, ‘Why did mom give up? Why didn’t she pursue her career?’ And I say, ‘Well, because of you.’ That kind of sinks into him because he’s always saying, ‘Mom’s so great, she’s so smart. Why is she this housewife that munches on popsicles in this angry manner?’ And I tell him that she wasn’t. ‘She was smarter than me. She had a huge career ahead of her and she dropped it all because of you.’

I think we have a very close relationship in that way. Like when I’m teasing Richard [played by Greg Kinnear] and she’s looking at me like, ‘You’re terrible,’ but she’s enjoying it at the same time. So, we have this real love of each other and each other’s minds. I think the two of us together think we are smartest people in the room. My character became egomaniacal about that fact and she didn’t play it up.”

The Reaction Steve Carell Hopes to Get from the Audience: Carell admits he sat through a public screening of Little Miss Sunshine just to see how real people reacted to the film. “I hope it makes them happy. I went to see it last night with a real audience, if you will, and people applauded at the end. I walked out and sort of eavesdropped on what people are saying. I heard a guy in front of me saying, ‘Man, that was just fun. What a sweet, fun movie.’ Honestly? If that’s what people walk out saying, that’s great... I think it’s just sort of a little gem. I just feel that way.”

Steve Carell Chocks His Success Up to Luck: “Pure, unadulterated luck,” says Carell of his current success on TV and in films. It’s been an amazing rise, and one which Carrell says could disappear just as quickly. Carrell’s surprised by how well his career is humming along right now. “Absolutely flabbergasted - I think surprised is not strong enough. I didn’t expect any of this or anticipate any of this. I have said before that I was just hoping to work as an actor, so this last year has been surreal.

I am always the type of person who is waiting for the other shoe to drop and for it to peter out and end. If it does that’s fine. I’ve kind of prepared for it myself in some ways because I feel it’s safer to do that. As soon as I start buying into it and saying, ‘Well, here we go. It’s gonna be all gravy from here on out,’ that’s when you go off the cliff in my mind. So I enjoy it and it’s great and it’s exciting, but I also don’t expect it to continue like this. It’s self-preservation - to guard against inflating it in my mind.”

Is Carell putting less pressure on himself in regards to the upcoming Bruce Almighty sequel, Evan Almighty, which he stars in without Jim Carrey? “Here’s the thing,” answered Carell, “I have already been paid (laughing). You know what I mean? If it absolutely tanks and my career is over, I’ll be okay. I could go away and I could raise my kids and I could take jobs as they come. If somehow it’s just a disaster professionally, I could live with that in part because I have had such a big run of it and I’ve sort of tasted that. But it’s not like I’ve tasted that and it has done nothing but made me hungry for more. I’ve tasted it and I’m very satisfied with it.”

Carell’s playing the same character in Evan Almighty that he played in the original film. “It’s the same guy, but he obviously grows. I couldn’t play that same character for an hour and a half, because that would be interminable (laughing). He has to evolve. You find out about his family; he’s married and he has three boys. It expands the whole picture of who that guy is. Working with Morgan Freeman, that was just incredible. We were out in Virginia for three months and they built an arc. They built this thing that is phenomenal and I think it is going to be a remarkable movie.”

Comparing Evan Almighty to Little Miss Sunshine: “It’s a very different animal. Evan Almighty is such a different movie tonally. Evan Almighty will be a very broad comedy that casts a large net. It will be PG. It will be very inoffensive and very sweet. And it will definitely try to appeal to more of a family audience. This has more of an [adult] focus.”

And Finally - The Status of Get Smart: A Get Smart movie has been rumored to be in the works for years. Carell says it’s just about to become a reality. “That starts at the end of March. It is finally happening.”

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