Steve Carell and Keira Knightley Plan For the End of the World

We talk to the stars and director of Seeking a Friend For the End of the World about the apocalypse, comedy and a-hole dogs.
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We talk to the stars and director of Seeking a Friend For the End of the World about the apocalypse, comedy and a-hole dogs.
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We talk to the stars and director of Seeking a Friend For the End of the World about the apocalypse, comedy and a-hole dogs.

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Photo: Darren Michaels/Focus Features | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2012

If there’s one thing that makes us laugh for hours, it’s the idea of the world ending. (Those Mayans with their 2012 prediction -- classic!) Hollywood has finally decided to capitalize on this comedy goldmine with Seeking a Friend For the End of the World, the new comedy-drama starring Steve Carell and Keira Knightley as two people facing the apocalypse. We chatted with the actors and the writer-director about putting together this new entry into the “destruction of Earth” movie canon. So bring up that REM song and read on.

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Photo: Darren Michaels/Focus Features | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2012

On Keira Taking on a Comedy Role

Director Lorene Scafaria: She has such an energy about her. A guy like Dodge [Steve Carell's character], who has been really sleepwalking through life needs someone to light a fire under him. She’s a firecracker. Even though you haven’t seen her in that comedic role, she’s such a strong, vivacious, luminous person that it felt like the right fit.

Keira Knightley: I’d been doing a lot of tragedy. I’d just finished The Children’s Hour which was on stage every single night [in London] with my best friend blowing her brains out. That was for four months, so that was pretty testing. I really did want to take something that was not like that. It was in a sense a kind of palette cleanser.

On the Canine Costar

Steve Carell: That dog was just a bastard. He had a huge rider and so many requests. There were actually two dogs that were used. One was good, and one was not so good. We were always happy to have dog number one. The hero dog as they called him. When you saw dog number two coming out you were always depressed. He had really bad breath, and clearly didn’t want to be in a movie. Dog number one, it was like he understood where the camera was. He would turn on cue. It was crazy! He was really sweet. Dog number two was an a-hole.

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Photo: Darren Michaels/Focus Features | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2012

On the Supporting Cast

LS: They all came about in different ways. We had a table read of the script before officially casting it. Adam Brody and William Petersen were both there. We filmed in LA, which had a lot to do with being able to get people to come out for a day or two. Rob Corddry was someone who I knew socially, so I kinda wrote the part for him. Melanie Lynskey, Patton [Oswalt], those were all people who I wanted from the beginning, and I think they wanted to blow off some steam. Patton and Corddry wanted to go hog wild, and have a burst of life.

SC: I'm a big Patton Oswalt fan. Martin Sheen, there are all kinds of great actors in this. Just from a comedic standpoint, I'm a huge Patton fan. I saw him do stand-up I think when I was doing Anchorman and it was one of the funniest stand-up acts I’ve ever seen and I’ve been a fan ever since. It was really nice to meet him in person.

KK: [I was most excited to work with] Martin Sheen. That was pretty amazing. He was way up there.

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Photo: Darren Michaels/Focus Features | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2012

On What They Would Carry With Them During Final Days

SC: Something that I could just stick under my arm? A huge flatscreen TV. I honestly don’t know, I guess a good book. Something involving shades of grey perhaps. Some really steamy romance novel to get me through those last couple days.

KK: As many bottles of alcohol as possible. I wouldn’t want to be sober if it were the end of the world, that would be horrendous.

On His Real-Life Wife Playing His Fleeing Wife

SC: I don’t think I’ve ever seen her move so quickly. That was Lorene’s idea. She called and asked whether Nancy [his wife] would be interested in doing that. We actually shot that scene on our anniversary. It was fun to be together and to be doing a scene about the end of the world in which she leaves me. There was a lot of weird stuff going on.

Seeking a Friend For the End of the World hits theaters on June 22!