Steve Carell Explains How He Developed His Character for ‘The 40 Year Old Virgin’

Steve Carell made so many people laugh with The 40 Year Old Virgin. It was his first leading role in a movie and it proved how talented he was on a comedic level before The Office. Carell recently shared that the character was actually something the actor had been developing for a long time before somebody wanted to make a movie about him.

‘The 40 Year Old Virgin’ is a hilarious comedy from Judd Apatow

Steve Carell attends the premiere of The 40 Year Old Virgin
Steve Carell | Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Carell gained recognition from his work as a correspondent on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. He then had roles in several hit comedy movies including Bruce Almighty and Anchorman. In 2005, Steve Carell got his first leading role in The 40 Year Old Virgin, a comedy directed by Judd Apatow. 

Apatow has directed many great comedies including Knocked Up and Superbad. The 40 Year Old Virgin is still considered to be one of Apatow and Carell’s best. It has an 85% critic score on Rotten Tomatoes and is still rewatched by many viewers. Before The Office, this is how many viewers recognized the talent that Carell had. 

Steve Carell explains the origins behind ‘The 40 year Old Virgin’

In a recent appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon to promote Minions: The Rise of Gru, Steve Carell discussed how he came up with the idea for The 40 Year Old Virgin. He tells Fallon that he developed the character during his time with the comedy troupe The Second City. It wasn’t until he told Apatow about it that the movie got developed. 

“There was one character I was working on and it was a poker scene,” Carell said. “The guy and all of his friends are talking about sex and they’re trying to regale each other with all these stories of sexual conquest. My guy didn’t have any sort of context, no frame of reference, and obviously was trying to lie. And that became 40 Year Old Virgin.”

“After we did Anchorman, [Judd Apatow] came to me and said, ‘hey, would you like to get together, do you have any ideas to pitch?'” the actor continued. “So we got together and I pitched all these other ideas. Just before I left, I said, ‘you know what, there’s one more – there was this thing I was kind of trying to get going at The Second City that never really went anywhere.’ He heard that and said, ‘I could sell that like immediately.’ The next week he talked to an executive, sold it, we wrote it, it got greenlit.”

Carell returns in ‘Minions: The Rise of Gru’

While a sequel to The 40 Year Old Virgin is probably not coming anytime soon, Steve Carell is reprising his character Gru in Minions: The Rise of Gru. Gru is one of Carell’s most popular characters and this will be his fifth time voicing the despicable hero. This time, he will be voicing a 12-year-old version of the character as we see how he and the Minions developed their bond. 

Minions: The Rise of Gru arrives in theaters on July 1. 

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