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It's crash and learn for Steve; Film of the Week: Date Night.

Byline: Shereen Low

THOUGH he's no action hero, Steve Carell is seldom very far from a high-speed car crash.

From Little Miss Sunshine and Get Smart to his latest movie DATE NIGHT, the 47-year-old comic actor says that it's in his contract that there has to be some sort of crash.

"It's fun," he says dryly - adding that when it came to this film, the most dangerous stunt was when the kids jumped on him and co-star Tina Fey.

"Little kids are wild cards. They have extremely sharp elbows and knees, so we were bruised more from that scene than anything else," he laughs.

Known for his awkward charm, cheesy smile and deadpan delivery, Carell made his name starring in The 40-Year-Old Virgin and then playing the David Brent role in the US version of The Office.

In Date Night he's paired up with Emmy award-winning actor Tina Fey.

Pictured above, the pair play parents of two Phil and Claire Foster, who are trying to inject some spark into their relationship with a "date night".

It's the first time the comic duo have worked together, despite the fact that both kicked off their careers with The Second City improvisation troupe in Chicago, and Carell's comedienne wife Nancy worked on Saturday Night Live, the same show which propelled Fey to fame.

"I worked on The Second City a few years before Tina did, and we had met each other on several occasions but we definitely did not know each other well," he explains.

As fans of Carell and Fey would expect, there are many laugh-out-loud moments in the film. Yet it was the scenes with Ray Liotta which really excited the two comedians.

Carell and Fey admit they couldn't help being starstruck when Goodfellas' Liotta stepped onto the set.

"We were shooting a scene with Ray one night, and Tina looked over and said, 'I feel like I am in a 3-D version of Goodfellas. Ray Liotta is actually walking up and talking to me'. It was like a ride at a theme park," he says.

Date Night also sees a shirtless appearance by Mark Wahlberg, more known for his dramatic roles in The Departed and The Lovely Bones.

"Something I thought he did so well in this, and he's known for being a dramatic actor specifically, was that he didn't try to be funny. I think that was key," says Carell.

"I think some dramatic actors feel pigeon-holed and want to bust out and do a comedy and the inclination is to try to be funny - as opposed to just playing the character and be assured that the comedy will follow suit."

Did he feel intimidated by Wahlberg's impressive physique? "I will say that he had a great sense of humour about sort of poking fun at his own image. Was I intimidated? Why no, of course not," he reveals, hiding a smile.

"I don't want to be attractive, it's nothing I strive to look like or be. So yes, in fact I was."

Fey was also taken aback by the former singer Marky Mark's physique.

"My appreciation for Mark's physical attributes is more of a scientific one, it is empirically superior. It was hard for me because Mark's chest is prettier than my face. That's hard to deal with," she says.

Carell, who has two children with Nancy, admits his own "date night" experiences leave a lot to be desired.

"Sometimes the worst part of date night is actually leaving for the date -when you see your babysitter sitting down, getting all cosy, turning on the TV. That sometimes seems much better than the night that lies ahead. "Our best date nights involve staying in, ordering a pizza and watching TV," he admits.

"Sometimes you're just so exhausted from everything that has transpired that week that the last thing you want to do is go out and have dinner - or talk. But I think it's important. I never regret it, going out and actually experiencing some private time with my wife is nice, because I like her."

Beneath the comic facade is a softie. Carell admits he started watching reality TV shows to spend time with his wife.

"I was not a reality TV fan, and my wife loved watching certainly reality shows, and I have since fallen in love with those shows just by virtue of repeated viewings," he explains.

"I have become involved with the characters, and the relationships. So, it turned out well," he adds, grinning.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Apr 23, 2010
Previous Article:Review: Date Night.
Next Article:DVDs.

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