Steve Carell: Why the fuss about my ‘Office’ departure?


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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


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