In reality Steve Carell doesn’t look like his characters. He’s always beyond friendly and extremely giving with his time. He’s absolutely one of the nicest actors we’ve ever had the fortune to talk to. In his upcoming comedy, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, Carell stars as a Vegas magician whose relationship with his partner (Steve Buscemi) becomes strained as the two start getting upstaged by a hipper illusionist (Jim Carrey). In the hotel Paris in Vegas we had the opportunity to talk with Steve about his career, his vague knowledge of Spanish culture and how a star keeps his head on the shoulders.
Q: Can we do the interview in Spanish?
A: Of course. My Spanish is much better than yours. I’m fluent in Spanish, didn’t you know. Tengo un castellano muy bueno (dice en español)
Q: Are you able to keep a conversation in Spanish?
A: No comprendo (responde en español). No. My Spanish is limited to what I’m learning from Will Ferrell in the set of Anchor Man 2 (laughs)
Q: Have you ever being in Spain?
A: Yes. I love Spain. Great country, fun, I’m a sucker for other cultures. I like to learn and believe me when I say that I do appreciate the way you enjoy life
Q: Would you share with us your favorite Spanish authors?
A: Everything I wrote (pretending to be an author) Language's Last Taboo, a tell-all about working for 50 Shades of Yams in Spanish, and Steve Carell by Steve Jobs by Steve Carell in Spanish (laughs) I have to confess that I don’t think I ever read a Spanish author book and if I did I can’t remember right now which one.
Q: How was to shoot The Incredible Burt Wonderstone?
A: Hell. You will not get a straight answer from me. I will be very sincere and say that it was so much fun - for me maybe the most fun I've ever had doing anything professionally. there was no bad move, no wrong thing to do, there was complete freedom... it was just fun. We got along, supported each other. Everyone laughed hard every day.
Q: How does it differ from your other jobs?
A: It was just different people, different tones... I've had a lot of fun obviously doing different TV shows and movies, but this just seemed special to me. These are people I really want to hang out with, and I got the sense that everyone felt that.
Q: How do you think people will react to the movie?
A: It's hard talking about it because I am really excited about the movie and I don't want to tout it too much: I just want people to go and see it and enjoy it. I always hate it when actors talk about movies and they demand you see it and tell you it's the best thing ever: I do personally love it.
Q: Did starring opposite Jim Carrey again raise the bar for the comedy?
A: For me it took the pressure off because I knew if I didn’t do one funny thing in the movie I knew that Jim would pick up any slack! I was completely at ease and confident because when you’re working with someone that good and with a script that is very strong and truthful, it’s very freeing.
Q: What does it take to be smart in comedy these days?
A: Something that attracted me to this movie is that I interpret smart as truthful because nothing needed to be created for this movie to make it funny. What’s funny is this very real relationship between two people, and we get a sense of who they are and where they are in their lives and then we throw them in to this very high anxiety situation and that to me is very organic and doesn’t feel invented, it feels farcical but real.
Q: Your movies are an homage for human relationships? Do you feel a humanist?
A: what I like about how movies unfold is that there is fault on both sides and with both relationships, if there is a problem, generally speaking it’s not one person’s problem and there is a point in the middle where people need to come together and whether compromise needs to be made, it’s that sweating the small stuff idea that sometimes you have to let things go to get to that mutual point. I don’t know if I can call myself a humanist, maybe.
Q: Are you funny at home?
A: I am the least funny person in my family, we’re just quiet but I find my kids hilarious – although all parents find their own kids charming and extraordinary in every way. My wife and I are not ‘on’ sort of people. When I’m not performing, I don’t perform. It would be extremely boring. I don’t think I’m good at idle cocktail conversation and I think people would be horribly disappointed if they expected me to be funny.
Q:Did you always want to be the center of attention?
A: For me it wasn’t about being the center of attention. I enjoyed acting but being the center of attention was an entirely different thing. I felt embarrassed at my own wedding because everyone was looking at me! It’s a separate thing to being on stage or on TV or in movies because it’s a job and an art form and you’re creating something that is funny or moving but I look at it as something different.
Q: What are your favorite travel spots?
A: Sydney, Australia. I had to do a press junket on the Gold coast and it was gorgeous. Endless white beaches and I was only there for a day and a half so I’d love to go back. I haven’t been to that many places. I shot one scene from Get Smart in Russia to shoot in Red Square and that was a place I’d like to see again. It’s not that I don’t want to travel but its been hunkering down and working for the past few years.
Q: Could you relate to your character?
A: I could, and we did a lot of talking before we started shooting while the script was still being tinkered with, to kind of bring our own personal observations to the script. Having been married almost 15 years, there are elements that you understand, or you understand how a relationship can get to a certain point, and we are aware of it.
Q: What do you watch on TV?
A: Well, we taped this show called The Soup, we watch that, we watch Top Chef, American Idol sort of shows, so a lot of times we will save shows like that, and then just watch them all on Friday and spend a few hours.
Q: You and Jim are both great at improvising, how much improvising went on in this shoot?
A: Yes, just cobbled together, other scripts, it’s hard to say, cause generally the way, the scenes that we shot, we do it as scripted, and then we play around with it. And in terms of what actually made the movie, I couldn’t even remember what was necessarily scripted or what, well, the line where you say I don’t really have gum…
Q: Steve, you do everything, you do these big movies, you do small independent movies, you did TV, How do you keep it up like that?
A: Sure, it also can prolong your career too, I say that half jokingly that if you sort of cast a wide net there, and the acting part of it goes south, there are other things that I could force myself on other people to do. Yeah, it’s fun, it’s fun to mix it up, but I was, this, I was acting. (laughter)
(c) America Reads Spanish
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