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With complete faith in Lorene Scafaria’s script for the new ‘Seeking a Friend for the End of the World’ and her ability to realize it as director, the film’s producer Mark Roybal notes, “The first thing that we asked Lorene about was the casting. She told us that she didn’t want to veer toward broad comedy, and that the actors had to be able to maintain a balance between humor and pathos.”
Producer Joy Gorman Wettels adds, “The lead role of Dodge is that of a man who, with the world now coming to end, realizes that he regrets his entire life. An insurance salesman by trade, he hasn’t taken risks in his existence. He thinks of his long-ago love – and is moved to act on that yearning.
“In order for this to play believably on-screen, Dodge has to be someone that you can see yourself in, or your dad, your brother, your husband. Steve Carell engenders so much goodwill and conveys such warmth; he is an Everyman. People relate to him; he was the only choice for Dodge.”
Carell remarks, “I read the script and could not stop thinking about it. It haunted me, to an extent. It was funny, sweet, emotionally intense at times, and a story that I hadn’t seen. This is the flip side of Armageddon; there’s no president with a hot line to the astronauts who are going to blow up the asteroid. ‘Seeking a Friend for the End of the World’ is what’s happening while all of those things are going on; how ordinary human beings respond, and the choices they make when they know that everything is going to be over in a matter of days.
“Lorene delicately maneuvers the comedy and the subject matter together. What I think makes it very funny is the characters being put into a life-or-death situation so that they are stripped down to their essence – it’s really amusing when you see them trying to continue their lives under extraordinary circumstances.” With that in mind, the actor honed in on his character straight away, noting, “Initially, Dodge doesn’t want to deal with what’s happening; he continues to go to his job. But then he decides to come to terms with his impending demise and with the end of the world; he is going to make a pilgrimage, to visit his high-school sweetheart Olivia and try to reconnect with her. He’s always idealized her as the love of his life, and before it all ends, he wants to be with her.”
“I think this, in a big way, is what our movie is about: people connecting with one another, or attempting to, when faced with something momentous. Your perspective changes,” says Carell. Scafaria compares Carell to “actors who could do comedy with pitchperfect timing but also be subtle and still, like Peter Sellers or Jack Lemmon; Steve can do so much with a look. “We were ridiculously lucky to have him. When making a movie, he is a collaborative, generous, kindhearted gentleman.”
Image Courtesy of Seeking a Friend for the End of the World