6 Steve Carell Roles That Prove He Can Do More Than Comedy
Steve Carell has built his career in comedy, choosing projects that have helped solidify him as one of the funniest actors in Hollywood. That’s an impressive feat in itself, but Carell’s resume also proves he can do more than only comedy. Currently, the actor is sparking serious Oscar buzz with his recent dark turn in Bennet Miller’s indie Foxcatcher.
Foxcatcher is based on the true story of John du Pont (Carell), an eccentric million with a passion for amateur sports, who develops a training center, aiming to help prepare wrestlers for the U.S. Olympics Team. But trouble comes about when du Pont’s friend Dave Shultz (Mark Ruffalo) and his younger brother Mark (Channing Tatum) decide to join the center in an effort to train for another Olympic bid. As he works with them, du Pont’s behavior becomes increasingly erratic and the relationship between all three men takes a dark and violent turn, eventually resulting in murder.
Since its debut, the movie has been labeled a sordid horror story, made all the more eerie because it’s true. Though Tatum’s role is also spurring talk of potential award season attention, it’s Carell’s performance that’s stealing the show — and for good reason. The actor underwent a dramatic transformation to play the part, donning heavy pale makeup and a prosthetic nose that makes him look virtually unrecognizable. His performance has been called “a marvel” and so convincing and “so profoundly chilling” that it’s hard to remember it’s the same actor we know and love under that fake nose.
With an Oscar nod for Carell likely in the near future, here’s a look back at 6 more of the actor’s more dramatic roles.
Little Miss Sunshine
The 2006 acclaimed indie drama took both critics and audiences by storm and received four Academy Award nominations (two of which it won). The film starred a truly brilliant ensemble cast, but Carell stole almost every scene he was in as the gay, suicidal uncle in a dysfunctional family. The role is darker than the ones the actor is best known for, but in true Carell style, his portrayal of the tragic character is tinged with subtle, comedic moments as well. The performance proved he is just as charming playing a more broken character as he is playing a funny one and that he can more than hold his own in a group of outstanding cast members.
Crazy, Stupid, Love
The 2011 romantic comedy drama also features an impressive ensemble cast, including the likes of Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, and Julianne Moore. Again, Carell shines, this time as Cal Weaver, a simple everyman who is taken under the wing of a womanizing lothario (Gosling) after his wife cheats on him. As his character adopts a better wardrobe and learns new ways to attract women, Carell perfectly depicts the inner battle of a man whose heart remains rooted in his old relationship, even while he tries to move on from it.
The Way, Way Back
This 2013 Sundance film, which reunited Carell with his Little Miss Sunshine co-star Toni Collette, received overwhelmingly positive reviews. In what is perhaps the first role of his career to make him seem truly unlikeable, Carell plays Collete’s character’s mean-spirited and emotionally belittling boyfriend, Trent. The movie is extremely well-written and while audiences never expect Carell to play the most obnoxious character in the movie, his performance is so genuine and convincing, it almost makes you forget this is the same beloved actor from The Office and Anchorman.
Dan in Real Life
Carell stars as a widower and father of three who falls for the girlfriend of hi younger brother during a family vacation in this 2007 comedy drama. The film just narrowly fell into the positive zone on Rotten Tomatoes, earning a 64% score on Rotten Tomatoes. Garnering much better reviews? Carell himself, whose touching and appealingly authentic performance was labeled “loveable” and his “most assured and rounded performance to date” after the movie’s debut.
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
This underrated 2012 comedy drama stars an unlikely pairing in Carell and Keira Knightley. Though the gloomier-than-expected film, which explores what happens when two people are faced with the end of humanity, received mixed reviews overall, Carell garnered high praise for his portrayal of Dodge, a hopeless man desperately looking to find something positive in his life before the world ends. His performance once again proved that Carell is the master of comedic-influenced dramatic roles.
Carell plays the supporting role of a straight-laced marriage counselor Dr. Feld in this romantic comedy drama about a husband and wife looking to spice up their marriage. Despite Carell’s participation, the scenes in his character’s office don’t require big laughs. Instead, Feld is primarily supposed to act as the man in the middle or, to put it in other words, the only mature adult in the room. While the role doesn’t require much action on his part, the actor brings a quiet assuredness to the role that makes it memorable.