24 Frames

Movies: Past, present and future

Category: Steve Carell

Steve Carell's 'Seeking a Friend' to premiere at L.A. Film Fest

April 23, 2012 | 10:00 am

"Seeking a Friend for the End of the World," with Steve Carell and Keira Knightley, will be among the gala screenings at the L.A. Film Festival, organizers announced Monday. The Sundance award-winning "Beasts of the Southern Wild" and "Middle of Nowhere" will also have gala presentations at the June festival in downtown Los Angeles.

"Seeking a Friend" will be having its world premiere at the fest. Written and directed by Lorene Scafaria (who adapted "Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist"), the movie follows two neighbors (Carell and Knightley) who strike up an unlikely friendship as the Earth is faced with extinction because a giant asteroid is hurtling toward the planet. The movie, being released by Focus Features, will be released nationwide June 22.
 
"Beasts" is a magical realism tale of a defiant bayou community cut off from the rest of the world by a sprawling levee. It focuses on a 6-year-old girl on the brink of orphanhood whose world is upended by a violent storm. The movie, directed by Benh Zeitlin, won this year’s Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival and was recently selected to play in the Un Certain Regard section at the Cannes Film Festival in May. Fox Searchlight will release the film June 27. 

"Middle of Nowhere," written and directed by Ava DuVernay, follows a woman struggling to hold together her marriage when her husband goes to prison. The film garnered DuVernay the Best Director Award at this year’s Sundance; AFFRM and Participant will release the film Oct. 12.

As announced earlier, Woody Allen’s "To Rome With Love" will kick off the festival June 14. Additional galas and the rest of the major lineup of the June 14-24 festival will be announced May 1. Passes are on sale at lafilmfest.com

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— Julie Makinen


Steve Carell looks to make music with 'Once' director

November 2, 2011 |  1:10 pm

Once
EXCLUSIVE: Steve Carell appears to be adding one more interesting director to his dossier: "Once" helmer John Carney.

Carney is in final negotiations to direct Carell's drama "Dogs of Babel," said a person familiar with the negotiations who asked not to be identified because he was not authorized to talk about them publicly. A spokeswoman for producer Mandate Pictures was not immediately available for comment. [Update, 3:03 p.m, Wednesday: Mandate confirms that Carney has been hired.]

A bittersweet, music-themed love story starring Frames frontman Glen Hansard and newcomer Marketa Irglova, "Once" established Carney as a director who can handle tender feelings. That should serve the Irish filmmaker well on "Babel," which concerns a professor (Carell) who tries to coax his dog to speak out about the death of the professor's wife, to which the canine was the only witness.

Based on Carolyn Parkhurst’s well-received debut novel and Jamie Linden's script, "Dogs of Babel" is being produced by "Juno" producers Mandate as well as Carell, his partners, "Harry Potter" producer David Heyman and a company called Sekretagent Prods.

Carell, who in 2007 toplined the widower piece "Dan in Real Life," looks to be hitting the dramas now that he's making a full go of it in the film world. Many of these projects feature notable directors. His upcoming “Seeking a Friend for the End of the World," about adults finding connection in the face of apocalypse, is the directorial debut of the Black List screenwriter Lorene Scafaria. Meanwhile, the fact-based John du Pont tale "Foxcatcher" will be directed by "Moneyball" helmer Bennett Miller.

Made for less than $1 million, the Ireland-set "Once" became a critical and art-house hit after Fox Searchlight acquired it at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival. The movie also won the Oscar for original song. (Hansard and Irglova were revisited in the recent documentary "The Swell Season.")

Carney's work will next be seen via the independent supernatural drama "The Rafters," which he recently finished shooting.

RELATED:

What's Steve Carell's next film move?

'Swell Season' revisits couple from Once

--Steven Zeitchik

twitter.com/ZeitchikLAT

Photo: Marketa Irglova and Glen Hansard in "Once." Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures


Dan Fogelman's 'Imagine' might soon land a leading man in Al Pacino

June 6, 2011 |  4:13 pm

AlpacinoEXCLUSIVE: Screenwriter Dan Fogelman ("Tangled") has become the hottest ticket in town in the past year. The writer behind the upcoming Steve Carell-starring comedy "Crazy, Stupid, Love," due out July 29, is currently working with Barbra Streisand, Seth Rogen and director Anne Fletcher on the Paramount flick "My Mother's Curse," where Streisand is playing a character inspired by Fogelman's own mother.

Now, he's on the verge of landing Al Pacino to star in his directorial debut "Imagine," confirms Warner Bros. The iconic 71-year old actor recently got the offer to play an aging rocker who tries to lead a better life after receiving a lost letter that had been sent to him by his idol John Lennon more than 40 years ago. He's currently negotiating the deal for the part.

Pacino's involvement comes a month after Carell, who had been attached to star as the rocker's estranged son, dropped off the project due to scheduling issues. Carell's production company Carousel Productions will still produce the film for Warner Bros.

Pacino, last seen on the big screen opposite Robert De Niro in "Righteous Kill," received accolades for his role as Jack Kevorkian in the HBO TV movie "You Don't Know Jack." He recently signed on to play mobster Neil Dellacroce in the upcoming Barry Levinson film "Gotti: Three Generations."

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Trying to get to the heart of Jack Kevorkian

--Nicole Sperling

Photo: Al Pacino. Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times

 

 


Steve Carell: I felt a strong need to make an asteroid movie

April 15, 2011 |  6:08 pm

Carell Steve Carell's last episode of "The Office" doesn't air until April 28, but the Emmy-nominated actor is wasting no time jumping into his already successful film career.

Fans of "The Daily Show" alum will next be able to see him opposite Julianne Moore and Ryan Gosling in a marital dramedy called "Crazy, Stupid, Love" which opens at the end of July. By then Carell will already be in production on "Seeking a Friend for the End of the World," another dramedy -- but one that centers on the end of days.

Written and directed by Lorene Scafaria ("Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist"), the film tells of how a group of people react after they learn that the world is ending. Carell will play a man whose wife suddenly leaves him after learning that an asteroid is headed for the planet. He receives a letter from his high school sweetheart asking to spend the final days with him, and proceeds to go on a road trip with his neighbor, played by Keira Knightley, to meet her.

Carell says that the project, which aims to shoot in mid-May in Los Angeles, has exerted a strong pull on him -- and for reasons philosophical as much as filmic. "It's one of those scripts that I read and I couldn't stop thinking about," he told 24 Frames. "It's one of those things that you read and then you ruminate about what would I do, and it forces people to ask those questions about themselves and what would you do in that situation."

He added: "Some of it is so ridiculous, but it also seems plausible because all bets are off at that point."

Carell is a master of walking a fine line between drama and comedy, and he'll have a chance here to take his act to the high wire here.

"It's the flip side" of the big, explosive,apocalyptic movie, he said. "We don't see what the president's talking about [in this movie], it's what the dinner party is like the day after everybody has heard the news. How people interact with each other and how it changes all the rules. It's how people put their lives in order and find their own importance and their own value. It's a beautiful movie, I think."

--Nicole Sperling

Photo: Steve Carell. Credit: Justin Lubin / Associated Press


Steve Carell and Ryan Gosling start to build some crazy buzz [trailer]

April 6, 2011 |  5:09 pm

Nearly four months out, and the buzz is already growing for "Crazy, Stupid, Love," the Steve Carell-Julianne Moore dramedy about a marriage falling apart and a man reborn.

From the new trailer, viewable below, the Dan Fogelman-penned movie could veer a little uncertainly between comedy and drama. But a large number of the scenes look promising -- especially with Ryan Gosling playing some kind of amped-up version of his own public persona as a bro/lady killer. Carell also manages to mix in the right amount of Michael Scott and "Dan in Real Life" (if it's a hint at what Carell can do with all the time on his hands, this post-"Office" time may be a good one indeed), while younger actors like Emma Stone look like they're actually given something to do.

Most encouraging, it looks like a return to form for "Bad Santa" writers Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, who direct here, after a couple of misses.

-- Steven Zeitchik

twitter.com/ZeitchikLAT

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What's Steve Carell's next film move? Or should we say moves?

February 22, 2011 |  2:13 pm

Carellste
Steve Carell already was attached to a wide range of prospective films when he was working on "The Office." Now that he'll soon be free of television constraints -- he leaves the program next month after seven seasons -- we can expect a flurry of Carell moves. Some of them may actually even become films.

Last week came reports from Deadline that the actor was in negotiations to star opposite Meryl Streep in the middle-aged marital drama "Great Hope Springs." (It's presumed to be a supporting role.) Tuesday  afternoon, producers confirmed this story that Carell will star in the drama "The Dogs of Babel," an adaptation of Carolyn Parkhurst's novel about a professor who finds his wife dead in the backyard, with a dog the only witness; he attempts to speak to the canine to understand and come to terms with what happened.

Meanwhile, there remain a host of projects that Carell signed on for or expressed interest in months or even years ago: a comedy about the unlikely rock star Dennis Lambert titled "Of All the Things," a comedy about a mourning magician called "Burt Wonderstone," and of course the long-plotted "Get Smart 2." (The actor will next be seen in this summer's "Crazy, Stupid Love," a marital comedy with Julianne Moore and Ryan Gosling that he finished shooting last year.)

What's interesting about Carell's more recent choices is they seem to take him in dramatic directions -- although he doesn't want to take on a role to make a statement. "I just never want to be precious or pretentious about choosing something in order to switch it up, or do a 180 just to show people what I'm capable of," he told 24 Frames when we interviewed him recently.

Still, while most of his movies have been comedies -- and hits, if modest ones, at that -- Carell received some of his strongest reviews in his most serious role, the widower drama "Dan In Real Life" back in 2007.  Even his signature film role in "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" ladled on the heart and some drama. His Michael Scott lunacy may have left the strongest impression, but it may not carry over to the big screen.

--Steven Zeitchik

twitter.com/ZeitchikLAT

Photo: Steve Carell in "Evan Almighty." Credit: Mercier/Universal Studios

 


Sundance 2011: Ed Helms says don't expect a 'Hangover 3'

January 26, 2011 |  4:19 pm

HelmsIn just a few weeks, Ed Helms will attempt to make the jump from television personality to bona fide movie star in “Cedar Rapids,” a  Fox Searchlight comedy that marks his debut as a leading man.

Helms, who was first seen on TV for five years on “The Daily Show” and now is part of the ensemble cast of “The Office,” has been in films before –- most memorably as a guy who cowers before his girlfriend in “The Hangover.” But “Cedar Rapids” presents a new set of challenges for the actor, who is known mostly for playing the nice-guy sidekick.

This week at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, Helms sat in a faux insurance office that  Searchlight had set up on Main Street to replicate the building seen in the movie.  Seeming almost as polite and earnest as his character in the movie, the wide-eyed Tim Lippe, Helms insisted he wasn’t worrying about the TV-to-film transition.

“Well, um, I don’t know what is ahead. But as long as I’m excited about what I’m working on, I’m not gonna get too hung up on the format,” the 37-year-old said. “ 'The Office' is in this really exciting transitional phase — it’s kind of awesome.”

The actor was referring, of course, to Steve Carell’s imminent departure from the sitcom. Carell is still filming his final episodes, and Helms on Sunday swore he has yet to discover who will be stepping into the show’s boss role. However, on Wednesday, it was reported that Will Ferrell will help ease the changeover, appearing on the show for four episodes.

Still, Helms was unsure of how the show will “find equilibrium in the long run. Like, who will be the boss? That question has, I think, 100 answers that will probably get explored. It’s basically like one of the biggest story lines in the history of the show, so it will get milked out over a long period of time and there won’t be, like, an easy, simple answer. But there will be a lot of us vying for the position.”

Helms is also a part of another project that many are anticipating: “Hangover Part II,” due out in May. Those hoping “The Hangover” sequel evolves into a full-blown franchise may be disappointed, the actor said, as he believes the second film will be the last in the comedy series.

“I doubt it,” he said, when asked if there would be a third installment. “I don’t think Todd [Phillips, the director] would let that happen.... I would hope that ‘The Hangover’ kind of has a dignified legacy, if that makes any sense.”

Look for more with Helms in the coming weeks.

-- Amy Kaufman in Park City, Utah

Twitter.com/AmyKinLA

Photo: Ed Helms poses with a cutout of himself in Park City. Credit: Al Seib/Los Angeles Times.

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Steve Carell looks to make some big-screen magic

September 23, 2010 |  1:57 pm

Care

EXCLUSIVE: There's probably not an actor out there right now with more comedy options than Steve Carell. (That includes you, Joaquin Phoenix.)

After years of Carell trying to squeeze in movies between his hectic "Office" shooting schedule, the star is essentially ready to tackle any scripts that he likes. And now, finally, he has the time to make them. Carell has a small shooting window in October, when "The Office" takes a pause. And then, come March, when his last season with the show wraps, he's wide open.

The actor and his representatives have been entertaining all comers with ideas on how to fill his schedule. One movie we're hearing that could make the grade: "Burt Wonderstone," which sources say Carell is circling and could well come aboard.

The New Line comedy is about a Vegas magician who accidentally kills his partner and must regain his mojo (or, as the logline has it, his "hocus-pocus focus") while simultaneously competing with a rival. The film offers the broad comedy with a hint of bathos that we've seen Carell demonstrate as Michael Scott and in film roles over his career, most recently as the eager schlemiel Barry in "Dinner for Schmucks."

Producers all around town want Carell because they know any film with him pretty much goes on the fast track. Studios, after all, love the actor, and it's not an idle affection. Of the five live-action comedies in which Carell has had a leading role, four have grossed nearly $100 million or more.

Even without Carell, "Wonderstone" is already a priority at New Line. The script has had a few writers, but it recently got a new draft from John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein, the scribes who also wrote the studio's "Horrible Bosses," next summer's buzzed-about comedy with Jason Bateman and Kevin Spacey (it's essentially "Office Space" with a murder).

Still up for grabs on "Wonderstone" is the director's chair, though if Carell makes a deal, that won't be a problem filling with a top-tier name (with the star's consent, of course).

Carell still has a sequel to "Get Smart" and a host of development projects he couldn't get to while his TV stardom hovered in the background. There will be less of him in our living rooms, but a lot more of him on the big screen.

--Steven Zeitchik

Twitter.com/ZeitchikLAT

Photo: Steve Carell in "Get Smart." Credit: Tracy Bennett / Warner Bros.

RECENT AND RELATED:

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For Steve Carell and Tina Fey, Date Night rings true



Steve Carell: Why the fuss about my 'Office' departure?

July 13, 2010 |  6:17 pm

  Carel
For an actor with such a flourishing television career, Steve Carell has been pretty active on the big screen. As he's worked on "The Office" over the past six seasons, the actor has also found time to star in half a dozen live-action features and voice two animated films, including his newest hit "Despicable Me" and his upcoming comedy "Dinner for Schmucks," slipping in movie shoots during his short television hiatuses.

In reporting on a story about his new film "Dinner for Schmucks," we asked Carell about the upcoming shift in his career that will take him off the "Office" to an even more fertile big-screen life. Although he's starred in a reasonably wide range of films -- "Get Smart," "Dan in Real Life" and "Evan Almighty" among them -- Carell has worked a similar tactic in many of them: the gap between what his character believes and what the audience knows, milking that alternately for comedy and drama.

But Carell, who next stars in a marital-crisis comedy opposite Julianne Moore called "Crazy, Stupid, Love," says that when he makes his big-screen decisions post-"Office," he won't be looking to branch out for its own sake.

"I just never want to be precious or pretentious about choosing something in order to switch it up, or do a 180 just to show people what I'm capable of," he told 24 Frames. (Incidentally, he didn't sound like a man who had an interest in returning to the series, as some of the bargaining-ploy theorists have had it.)

As for the reaction to his departure from "The Office" and his landmark Michael Scott character -- which has ranged from abject horror to mournful head-shaking to those conspiracy theories -- Carell said it's caught him a little off guard.

"I'm surprised by it, frankly. I didn't think it would be that big a deal," the actor said. "I'm just not renewing my contract. I'm surprised there's any sort of hubbub about it."

--Steven Zeitchik

Twitter.com/ZeitchikLAT

Photo: Steve Carell and Paul Rudd in "Dinner for Schmucks." Credit: Paramount

RECENT AND RELATED:

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An 'Office' director blooms into film

June 3, 2010 | 12:41 pm

Office

EXCLUSIVE: It's rare for a seasoned television director to make the leap into feature film. But there's nothing ordinary about the story of "Late Bloomer," the tale of a man who only begins hitting puberty as an adult.

Randall Einhorn, a veteran TV director who has done some heady work on shows such as "The Office," "Modern Family" and "Parks and Recreation," is making just such a leap. Einhorn has been hired by Alcon Entertainment to direct "Late Bloomer," a dramatization of the real-life story and memoir of Hollywood journalist Ken Baker.

Baker's tome, "Man Made," is about a rare condition that caused him not to go through the normal paces of puberty as a teenager; in fact, as his body produced a female hormone, he had many female characteristics, including lactaction. At age 27, he had surgery that finally corrected the problem and brought on the onset of puberty (not to mention numerous female conquests).

Although the book has the hallmarks of a drama (sometimes outlandishly so), the script, from Joe Nussbaum with a rewrite by Paul Kaplan and Mark Torgrove ("Just Shoot Me!," Spin City," a "Marvin the Martian" movie), will play up comedic elements too. Think "The 40-Year-Old Virgin," only here the stunted adolescence is developmental.

Alcon, which produced the 2009 hit "The Blind Side," is committed to making the film, with Warner Bros., per their agreement with the company, scheduled to release the movie next August.

As for Einhorn, he joins the ranks of a rare group. Originally a cinematographer who helped create the look of the American "Office," the 46-year-old segued into directing television shows (he also counts shows as diverse as "Survivor" -- for which he has been nominated for Emmys -- and "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" among his credits).

Einhorn is swimming against the current -- television series now frequently hire feature directors, but it's unusual for a director go the other way ("He's Just Not That Into You" director Ken Kwapis is one of the few to do it). But then, it's never too late to bloom. Just ask the protagonist of Einhorn's new film.

--Steven Zeitchik

http://twtter.comZeitchikLAT

Photo: Steve Carell and the rest of the cast of "The Office." Credit: NBC


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