Steve Carell

Glenn Ficarra and John Requa are starting to become known as quite the filmmaking duo. Already they’ve worked together on cult hit Bad Santa, indie darling I Love You Phillip Morris, and mainstream romantic comedy Crazy, Stupid, Love. And it looks like they’re just getting started. For a couple of guys who have worked in such a wide array of genres already, what comes next? Not sequels to films they’ve already made, according to an interview they recently did with Movie Hole. When asked about the possibility of Bad Santa 2, they confirmed that it was happening and said that they were asked to direct but turned down the offer. When asked about a sequel to Crazy, Stupid, Love. they said that they left the characters where they wanted them to be and that if any sort of sequel happened it wouldn’t be for another twenty years or so. Ficarra and Requa don’t seem to be very into making sequels. The more I learn about these guys the more I like them. So what are they working on? Apparently they’ve written a script based on an idea from Crazy, Stupid, Love. star Steve Carell.

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Over the course of his screenwriting career, Charlie Kaufman has developed a set of go-to moves. They are the tricks up his sleeve that allow him to craft narratives that throw the way we traditionally watch movies off kilter. One of the things he does is call identity into question. He casts John Malkovich as himself, or he casts Nicolas Cage as Charlie Kaufman, then he makes us question what aspects of those on screen characters accurately reflect the real person, and how much of them are solely invention; the crafted traits of a fictional character created by Charlie Kaufman.

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr runs screaming from little blue people invading his life and seeks refuge in the old west, hoping that James Bond and Indiana Jones will protect him. When he returns home, he has a fight with his wife and uses the events of Crazy, Stupid, Love to put his relationship back together. What a godsend Hollywood can be for marriage woes. Finally, Kevin curls up for a long nap after an exhausting summer movie season with many more arrests than he ever thought he’d incur.

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In Glenn Ficarra and John Requa‘s Crazy, Stupid, Love., we meet Cal and Emily, a long-standing couple in which only one half of them recognizes that the “standing” could in fact be traded out for “suffering.” Cal and Emily have some lovely kids and a nice house and what appear to be stable jobs, but there’s something missing. Within the film’s first ten minutes, Emily (Julianne Moore) has asked for a divorce (in the middle of a dinner out, no less) and revealed that she’s had an affair (with one her co-workers, played, of course by Kevin Bacon), leading Cal (Steve Carell) to purposely fall out of their car and announce to both their son and babysitter what has just transpired during the world’s worst date night (and Carell knows from bad date nights). And thus begins Cal and Emily’s halting journey to return to a state of normalcy, if not a state of reaffirmed union.

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With Crazy, Stupid, Love, writer-director duo Glenn Ficarra and John Requa are coming off of the criminally under-seen I Love You Phillip Morris. Very few saw commercial appeal in their Ewan McGregor and Jim Carrey-starring love story, and the box office numbers were further proof that there was a definite, and very sad, truth to those predictions. It doesn’t appear they have anything to worry about when it comes to their new, star-filled romantic comedy though. I Love You Phillip Morris has a dark and divisive sensibility. Crazy, Stupid, Love is the opposite and shows obvious mass appeal. In making a film for a broader audience, Ficarra and Requa managed to make love stories — it is an ensemble film — that are neither cynical nor dopey. Here’s what Glenn Ficarra and John Requa had to say about taking on the commercial project, their 3-hour version of the film, and their important lessons at film school:

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Quirky writer Charlie Kaufman just may be the closest thing that modern Hollywood has to a mad genius. He captivated and delighted audiences and critics alike with his screenplays for Being John Malkovich and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and then he confused audiences and critics alike with his directorial debut Synecdoche, New York. Whatever he does is at least always interesting, so I’m looking forward to seeing what he serves up his second time behind the camera.

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In the past, I have used this space to examine the cultural implication of sex in cinema, the hotness of naked people, and even exploited some of my own personal going-ons. After last week’s titillating BDSM discussion and the official welcoming of summer, I chose to approach some lighter fare this time around. We all love sex in its many forms (unless for some, I’m sure, reasonable reason you do not), and more importantly we are all fascinated or turned-on by sex on film (for artistic purposes, surely). With summer upon us we have at least a fistful of sexy films whetting our appetite before September 20th. I have done some preliminary dirty work to present to you, fair reader, a double stuffed list of films tailor-made for the erotica lover.

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Jason Reitman has been a pretty successful director. His last two features alone, Juno and Up in the Air, got him tons of attention during awards season. Not surprisingly, he has another high profile project coming up. It’s an adaptation of Joyce Maynard’s novel Labor Day, and it’s got a couple big names rumored to star in Kate Winslett and Josh Brolin. But before he does that, Reitman is set to spend a couple weeks doing something that he’s never done before, work as a script doctor. New Line is bringing him in to give the script for their upcoming comedy Burt Wonderstone a once over. Wonderstone is a comedy about rival magicians working in Las Vegas. Steve Carell has been attached to star as the aging magician who is being shown up by a flashy young upstart, and recently, television veteran Charles McDougall has been signed up to be the director. It seemed to me that with those two elements in place, the project was ready to move forward, but apparently there are a few kinks that the studio feels need to be worked out first. The script for this one has been bouncing around at some level of production for years. The original draft was written by a guy named Chad Kultgen. For the past couple years writers John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein, who also worked together on the upcoming Horrible Bosses, have been the names associated with it. That would make Reitman the fourth name involved […]

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Writer Dan Fogelman is quickly becoming one of the hottest names in Hollywood. He started his career strong by penning hugely successful animated film like Cars and Tangled, and recently he has upped his game by getting a lot of live action projects going. He has written a script for the Seth Rogan and Barbara Streisand road trip comedy My Mother’s Curse, he made big money selling the script Crazy, Stupid, Love which is becoming a Steve Carell and Ryan Gosling comedy, and recently he even sold a script for a political comedy with Tom Cruise attached to star. That’s a lot of successful screenwriting he’s got going on. But, not content with just being a titan in the writing game, Fogelman is now looking to get his directorial debut together. The film will be called Imagine, and it’s about one of those old guy rockers who’s still hanging on to the lifestyle, but who wants to become a better person. In this film the catalyst for change is a letter from John Lennon that was sent 40 years earlier but never successfully delivered until recently. Whatever Lennon says in that letter sets the protagonist off on a path that leads to him reconnecting with an estranged son. Originally, Steve Carell was going to play the adult son, but he has had to drop out of the project in an acting capacity due to being Steve Carell. He’s a busy man. Someone who may be able to fit this film […]

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Culture Warrior

Episodes and seasons and weeks after its inspiration and its humor have peaked, I still continue to watch new episodes of The Office week in and week out. I don’t know why – I never do this with dramatic shows, only with comedies – but I tend to stick with comedy shows whose legacy I appreciate even if their time has passed, either out of respect, blind hope, or simply the desire to have some noise in the room while I take a break to eat a meal or fold laundry. While The Office certainly isn’t what it used to be, even before Steve Carell left, it’s still an inoffensive and enjoyable way to pass some time. I can’t deny that the affinity I developed for the show’s characters early on in the series has carried me through a lot of its creative droughts (in other words, I hardly watch it only for its comedy) even as more recent network sitcoms like Modern Family, Community, and (especially) Parks and Recreation have made me LOL significantly more often. But in the bizarre cameos leading up to a strange and dry seventh season finale, The Office seems to have encountered much greater problems than a rudimentary lack of inspiration typical for the (possibly cyclical) lifespan of a long-running television show. The Office seems to have rejected the defining characteristics that made it unique in the first place.

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One thing I never really imagined I would see made is a romantic comedy starring Steve Carell and Keira Knightley. That image just doesn’t compute in my brain. But in the upcoming Seeking a Friend at the End of the World, just such a thing is going to happen. And in a quirky tale about the Earth getting destroyed to boot. The movie is about a man (Carell) whose wife leaves him in the midst of an asteroid heading to Earth, so he goes off to find his high school sweetheart in order to spend humanity’s last moments with someone who cares. For one reason or another, his neighbor (Knightley) decides to tag along for the journey. Lorene Scafaria, who is a first time feature director but has a writing credit on Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, is set to helm. She’s also done some writing for the crazy Cartoon Network show Children’s Hospital, which stars people like Rob Corddry. Oh yeah, and did I mention that Rob Corddry is going to be in this film as well? As if the premise didn’t sound quirky enough already, now you have to add his manic energy into the mix. CSI’s William Peterson and The OC’s Adam Brody are also said to be onboard, and what that all adds up to is a weird sounding movie starring a bunch of people that I never imagined standing next to each other in a frame. Still, if all of the pieces fall together in […]

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For every guy that has ever been told he only has a chance with a woman if he’s the last man on Earth, the forthcoming project from Steve Carell might be sweet, Apocalyptic retribution. We’re all obsessed with the end of the world here lately, and according to Deadline Doomsday, Carell might be jumping on the bandwagon alongside Keira Knightley for Seeking a Friend for the End of the World. I think we’ve all fallen for that Craigslist post a few times. The story focuses on the title-appropriate end of the world, where Carell’s character’s wife has split, and he hits the road with his neighbor, Keira Knightley, to go meet up with his former sweetheart to have a hand to hold when it all stops spinning. It sounds sweet, and Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist director Lorene Scafaria will be directing, so it’ll undoubtedly have a little sour to go with that romance. Will a love story actually blossom between the two characters or will it go the Lost in Translation, older man, younger woman route? Who knows. All I know is that there are a lot of names I like attached to this, and the concept sounds just quirky enough to work.

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I apologize for using abracadabra in the headline. I sincerely couldn’t help myself. But on to the information… Steve Carell has been attached to a comedy about Las Vegas magicians for a while now. It was originally put together in 2006, but now it seems to have some motion; a director has been attached as well. The film is called Burt Wonderstone and it is about Carell’s more traditional magic act being overshadowed by a flashy young upstart, resulting in a rivalry developing. It sounds like a cross between The Illusionist and The Prestige with a little Zoolander thrown in for good measure. Not bad. The director who is looking to sign on is Charles McDougall. Who is Charles McDougall, you ask? Shame on you! The man has won an Emmy! He’s a TV director who has worked with Carell on numerous episodes of The Office. In addition to that he has directed episodes of the brilliant Parks and Recreation, episodes of the show I haven’t seen The Tudors, and episodes of the unwatchable Sex and the City. His masterpiece is the Emmy winning pilot episode of Desperate Housewives. I say that with derision in my voice, but I’ve never seen an episode of Desperate Housewives. What do I know? Regardless, a guy who has directed episodes of several really good comedies is set to direct a comedy starring Steve Carell. That might be good. Of course, if they get Will Arnett to play the flashy young magician it will […]

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Steve Carell got a lot of free time on his hands after leaving The Office, and even if that exit (set for April) remains bittersweet, the opportunity it leaves for the actor to do more movies is an exciting one. He’s already shown massive range from 40-Year-Old Virgin to Little Miss Sunshine, and apparently he’s staying in the semi-serious vein with Dogs of Babel. According to a press release from Mandate Pictures, the movie will focus on “Paul Iverson, a linguistics professor, who returns home one day to find his wife dead in their backyard. Police rule her death an addicent, but Paul is not quite sure. The only witness to her death is their dog Lorelei.” So what does he do? He attempts to teach the dog to talk in order to find closure. The concept, based on the novel of the same name by Carolyn Parkhurst, sounds like a heart-breakingly sweet one. When we lose a close loved one, the search for answers is one that leads down any avenue that seems even remotely promising, and this story seems to take that to a sort of extreme that can still be rooted in reality. How badly would you want your dog to speak if she could tell you the answer to the ultimate personal question? The film will be written by We Are Marshall and Dear John scribe Jamie Linden, and the production is currently in search of a director.

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What is Movie News After Dark? This is a question that I am almost never asked, but I will answer it for you anyway. Movie News After Dark is FSR’s newest late-night secretion, a column dedicated to all of the news stories that slip past our daytime editorial staff and make it into my curiously chubby RSS ‘flagged’ box. It will (but is not guaranteed to) include relevant movie news, links to insightful commentary and other film-related shenanigans. I may also throw in a link to something TV-related here or there. It will also serve as my place of record for being both charming and sharp-witted, but most likely I will be neither of the two. I write this stuff late at night, what do you expect?

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Drinking Games

If you’re a fan of NBC’s Thursday night line-up, chances are you’ve had a date night with Steve Carell and Tina Fey. If you want to make a new date night official, you can check out their latest comedy Date Night, available now on DVD and Blu-ray. So join the comedy duo in New York City and get some drinks at the new trendy night spot, Claw.

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Dinner For Schmucks takes a while to get going, but once the laughs do start coming, they reach all the way back from the land of the absurd and fly out at a brisk pace. It’s as if all of The Funny had been frustratingly bottled up for the first half of the film and is now allowed that sweet, sweet freedom to run rampant all over the theater. Tim (Paul Rudd as Paul Rudd) is inches away from getting that corner office after taking a leap of faith and impressing his boss (Bruce Greenwood). It’s all his, if he can impress the entire executive staff on Saturday night at a dinner party where each colleague brings the biggest idiot they can find. The rest of the group makes fun of them, and someone goes home with a prize. Tim’s girlfriend who won’t say yes to his frequent marriage proposals, Julie (Stephanie Szostak), hates the idea, but Tim sees a sign from God when he crashes his car into dead mouse hobbyist Barry (Steve Carell). He’s destined to go to this party.

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr found himself awake on a distant planet being hunted by macho Rastafarian aliens. Then he realized he was still dreaming. Sucked back into reality, he dove into the 3D experience of Despicable Me and reached for a dunce cap for Predators.

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Despicable Me

I’ve been looking forward to Despicable Me for a while; having seen trailers, the 3D animated film out of Universal looked like it had the potential to be a lot of fun. While I was far from unhappy with the final product, what seems increasingly to be a universal truth surfaced once again — all computer animated film fare is measured against the visual and storytelling juggernaut that is Pixar… and they remain the unwavering king of the mountain. Despicable Me is the story of Gru (Steve Carrell), a past-his-prime villain heavy on unsavory aspirations but lacking in execution. One day Gru learns that every baddie, himself included, have been left eating dust when a mystery evil genius steals one of the Great Pyramids. Not content to be outdone, Gru devises a plan to infiltrate a secret base, swipe their experimental shrink ray, and steal the moon.

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Carrell has previously stated that he is unlikely to return to NBC’s highest rated series before, and only made that leaning more solid during further questioning. Carrell said, “I was only contracted through seven seasons, and I think it’s time for Michael to move on. I feel like we’ve done everything with him that we could.”

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