“Beautiful Boy” star Steve Carell covers the November 2018 issue of Esquire magazine photographed by Marc Hom.
On if he would consider playing Donald Trump: “You hope you can find the humanity in anybody that you play. If I couldn’t, then I wouldn’t play that part. If you go into a part with complete disdain and find no nugget of humanity in a person—I just wouldn’t do it.”
On drawing from his own father to play the role of David Sheff in Beautiful Boy: “My dad, who is about to turn ninety-three, is a real rock. A real stoic. He didn’t cry a lot, but I could tell when something was tearing him up inside. He internalized it for the sake of the family. And that to me was more heartbreaking than someone who would just, you know, be really outward with his emotions. It’s kind of how I interpreted the David character: He’s trying to keep it together.”
On establishing a fatherly bond with his Beautiful Boy costar Timothée Chalamet’s and his reaction to Chalamet’s weight loss for the role: “He just looked terrible with the added makeup, like really shockingly bad.”
On his upcoming role in VICE, where he plays Donald Rumsfeld: “I went into it thinking, ‘Here’s a man, a very smart man, who is clearly flawed, but he also believed what he was doing.’ People have an idea about Rumsfeld, but it’s a very narrow idea. I felt like it was my job to expand that and paint a broader picture of who he was, what he feared, what was upsetting to him. It’s a little cavalier to say that I understand what makes Donald Rumsfeld tick, or John du Pont. But I’ve made an attempt. You do the best you can with the material you have, with the sources you have, and with your imagination.”
On why The Office wouldn’t work as a new show in 2018: “The climate’s different. I mean, the whole idea of that character, Michael Scott, so much of it was predicated on inappropriate behavior. I mean, he’s certainly not a model boss. A lot of what is depicted on that show is completely wrong-minded. That’s the point, you know? But I just don’t know how that would fly now. There’s a very high awareness of offensive things today—which is good, for sure. But at the same time, when you take a character like that too literally, it doesn’t really work.”
On his high-school reunion right before The-40-Year-Old Virgin came out: “I had a high school reunion just before the movie came out. I hadn’t seen these people in several years. And they’d start talking about what they’d been involved in, and I would mention that I just did this movie called The 40-Year-Old Virgin, and as I reflect back, I realize how dumb it must have sounded to all of these people. It sounded like it might be the worst movie ever, just based on the title. I could feel my classmates feeling sorry for me. I could see the pity in their eyes.”
Cover: Coat, Shirt, and Trousers by The Row | Shoes by Brunello Cucinelli | Bags by Thom Browne | Sunglasses by Tom Ford
1st Image: Shirt and Trousers by Gucci | Vintage Sweater Vest and Tie from Early Halloween, Vintage Clothing N.Y.C. | Watch by Rolex
2nd Image:Jacket and Polo Shirt by Ermenegildo Zegna | Watch by Tom Ford
3rd Image: On Carell: Cardigan Sweater by Prada | Shirt and Trousers by Mr P. – On Carell’s manager, Steve Sauer: Coat by Belvest | Suit, Shirt, Tie, Cuff Links, and Glasses, his own.
[Photo Credit: Marc Hom/Esquire Magazine]