60 Minutes: Steve Carell
Most audiences know Steve Carell as a leading comedy star, who has had success in movies and television. But Carell told 60 Minutes correspondent Steve Kroft that he does not think of himself as a comedian, as audiences are probably about to discover in his latest film, Foxcatcher. It’s a more dramatic role than his fans have come to know.
Carell has been making people laugh for about a decade, in movies like Anchorman and The 40-Year-Old Virgin. Then he became the bumbling boss on the US version of the British sitcom The Office, who had a way for putting his foot in his mouth. That’s part of what makes his turn in Foxcatcher, as a drug addict heir, such a change of pace.
He stars as John E. du Pont, who dedicated some of his fortune to training young wrestlers at a lavish Pennsylvania estate. Carell said it was a very different experience for him and he was excited to take a risk. This drama, based on a true story, has already won raves at worldwide film festivals.
60 Minutes: Steve Carell Foxcatcher Makeup
The cast of Foxcatcher also features Channing Tatum, Vanessa Redgrave, and Mark Ruffalo. It is directed by Bennett Miller, whose resume also includes Academy Award nominees Capote and Moneyball. Miller told 60 Minutes he has been working on Foxcatcher for eight years, and he was looking for someone unexpected, like Carell, for the lead role.
They had lunch together, and Miller came away from that encounter high on the idea of a thoughtful and serious Carell in this role. The movie shot for three months in Pittsburgh, with often grueling hours. On the schedule was three hours of makeup for Carell at the beginning of each day, a process he recalled as “intense.”
The 52-year-old actor is a Massachusetts native, the youngest of four boys born to an engineer and a nurse. He studied History and Theater at Ohio’s Denison University before looking for his big break at Chicago’s famed Second City. For five years, he did seven to eight shows each week for audiences, honing his comedic chops. That’s where he met future wife Nancy Walls and colleague Stephen Colbert, with whom he later worked on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.
60 Minutes: Steve Carell Daily Show
Colbert and Carell were Daily Show correspondents for five years, as the show grew into a monster hit. The actor said it was initially “terrifying,” because it was a lot of improv and he did not have a journalist background. Obviously he and others did well with the format.
Carell left that gig in 2005, going on to shoot The Office pilot and The 40-Year-Old Virgin, a movie that he co-wrote with Judd Apatow. It was based on a sketch he honed at Second City back in Chicago. That movie grossed in excess of $100 million, and Carell went on to a highly profitable seven-year run at The Office.
60 Minutes: Steve Carell General Store
60 Minutes claimed he has made two dozen movies in the past 14 years, though he seems to steer clear of the limelight. He told Steve Kroft he does not enjoy being the center of attention, calling it “embarrassing.” When he isn’t working, Carell divides his time between Los Angeles and the town of Marshfield Hills, Massachusetts, where he and wife Nancy have restored a general store and post office from the Civil War era.
The couple’s families are from the area, and they stepped in to avoid having the general store turned into a real estate office. He considers it “a gathering place,” and his sister-in-law runs the daily operations there. Steve’s mother sells knit goods in the store, making it a family affair for sure.
60 Minutes: Nancy Carell on Steve Carell
Steve and Nancy drive their kids to school themselves, a rarity in LA. They also tend to skip red carpet events, or at least duck out before the after party. “I almost immediately forgot that I was watching my husband up there,” Nancy said of seeing Steve in Foxcatcher.
Despite Steve’s reserved personality and circumspect comments about fame, Nancy told 60 Minutes that he is naturally funny and doesn’t have to be “on” all the time in his personal life. She also said she was an early believer in his career prospects. “I knew he’d be successful,” she said. “But I think we thought he’d be successful in the Don Knotts kind of way.”
Foxcatcher is in theaters November 14 2014.