Steve Carell is the quintessential sad-clown comic. Oh, he’s fully capable of going for broke in off-the-wall comedies like 'Anchorman' or 'The 40-Year-Old Virgin.' Yet even when Carell plays serious – as he has done in such well-received feature films as 'Crazy, Stupid, Love' or 'Little Miss Sunshine' – audiences find themselves laughing along through their tears.
You might have the same reaction from ‘Seeking a Friend for the End of the World,’ a deeper-than-expected Armageddon comedy that finds two lost souls searching for redemption before an asteroid takes out our planet. We recently posted our one-on-one conversation with Carell’s ‘End of the World’ co-star, Keira Knightley. Now it’s ‘The Office’ star’s turn to open up about his Armageddon menu and the one item he'd preserve in a time capsule if our planet was on the brink.
Let’s say that an asteroid really is going to crash into our planet. What would you like to be doing at the moment of impact?
Eating an enormous pizza. That’s probably what I’d be doing.
No! With my family. With wife and children. We would be enjoying a monstrous pizza and watching, I don’t know, ‘Deadliest Catch’ or something like that.
So you would be one of those people who’d try and maintain their routine as much as possible.
We would try, yes.
The movie does make us think about how we value different things as we get older and perhaps sense that our end is fast approaching. Do you think your values have changed as you’ve gotten older?
I don’t know if my values have necessarily changed, but you do tend to … and I think the movie is a metaphor for [death], in a certain way. Because we’re all headed for that, eventually. And so many things that we do take for granted change. So I think that what does change, at least personally, is my appreciation of those smaller things – those little, sweet moments in life. And I try to remind myself of them.
The other thing that the movie dwells on is a regret that we’ve wasted precious time on people who, in hindsight, didn’t deserve it. Do you ever look back and think that you wasted time on a person or a project?
No, not at all, because I think all of those instances and experiences really build up and make you who you are today. I tend not to have that sort of fatalistic approach. I tend to think that I’m just a culmination of all those things that have preceded this, and that’s OK. Because really, you can’t live in the past. You can’t undo what’s been done. Listen to me. Now I’m a life coach, is basically what I’m saying. [Laughs]
But I was surprised that this comedy about an asteroid hitting our planet had me thinking about such weighty emotional topics as I walked out of the theater.
Me too! When I read this script, that’s what resonated with me. It was funny, and it was sort of quirky and odd. A comedy based on this topic is absurd. But aside from that, there were a lot of topics and themes that struck a chord in me.
If the world were ending, what would you put inside of a time capsule that could show the survivors who Steve Carell was and what he accomplished?
Me. [Laughs] I would put myself inside of the time capsule. And I would have it sealed so that I would be a perfect example of myself for future generations. Much like Lenin’s tomb. They’d uncover the capsule, and there I’d be!
With pizza-sauce stains on your shirt?
Yes! [Laughs] With pizza-sauce stains, and perhaps some BBQ. I might be having some ribs, as well. We’ll see.
‘Seeking a Friend for the End of the World’ opens everywhere on Friday, June 22