Steve Carell is one of the most skilled comedic actors working today, and in large part it's because he, unlike so many comedians, doesn't seem to feel the need to be the center of attention all the time. In the press notes for "Crazy, Stupid, Love." Ryan Gosling said, "One of the things I loved about working with Steve is that he acclimates himself to your sense of timing, which is a very generous way to work." That's precisely right: Carell feels like he's working with other actors, rather than making them watch him work. It is extremely rare for a comedian to do that.
It has made him into a unique sort of movie star: An lead actor who is perpetually part of an ensemble. And it theoretically makes the inevitable transition -- into "dramatic" actor -- something that should work more smoothly: It's easier to go along with the flow with an actor when he's always going along with the flow himself.
And it looks like Carell's first Super Serious Actor Role will be a big one: He's slated to play John DuPont, the wrestling-obsessed, paranoid schizophrenic billionaire heir who holed himself up in his family's compound in 1996 after murdering an Olympic Gold Medal-winning wrestler. It's a plum role for any actor, and Carell will be working with one of the hottest directors of the moment, Bennett Miller, of "Moneyball." The film will be called "Foxcatcher," which sounds like some sort of thriller set on a Native American reservation.
Carell hasn't played a part even close to this; even in the more "dramatic" roles, he's always been inherently likable. But if anyone can make a murdering paranoid schizophrenic billionaire heir wrestling obsessive sympathetic, you'd have to think it's him. We hope he doesn't wear those sunglasses up there, though.