The Art of Random Willy-Nillyness: Steve Carell & Jennifer Garner Interview ~ Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day! #verybaddayevent
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Monday, October 6, 2014

Steve Carell & Jennifer Garner Interview ~ Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day! #verybaddayevent

Disclosure: I attended the #VeryBadDayEvent #Disneyinhomeevent #starwarsrebels #maleficent #sleepingbeauty #halloweentime and #fireandrescue events and my expenses: flight, accommodations, transportation and some meals were be covered by Disney. All opinions, however, are always 100% mine.

Our press junket for Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No  Good, Very Bad Day included interviewing the cast. Our first interview was with the main actors: Steve Carell and Jennifer Garner. I have to say that I love these two. I have been a fan for a very long time.

And from the moment they entered the press room, I knew this was going to be a fun event. Jennifer entered and said that we were her people! I think she meant mom people and although I am not a mom, I am one of her people! Love her! She was perfectly lovely and nice and classy like you would expect her to be. And she is so beautiful in person. How can you not love this woman?

Steve Carell was a lot quieter than I thought he would be but he was still wickedly funny. He was so charming and sweet. Again, because it was just our group, the interview felt intimate and special. They talked about the movie, having movie kids and Jennifer played an epic prank on Steve!

Q: So, how did you both get involved with the project?

Steve Carell (SC): I was asked to be in it, and I said yes. I just, I liked the script, I thought it was funny and inventive and different. I feel like I hadn't really seen this kind of family movie in a while. And the fact that Jen was going to do it was a huge draw for me, because I'd been a huge fan of hers for a long time.

We met a few times over the years, but just sort of in passing. You know when someone not only lives up to, but exceeds expectations, of everything you've heard about them? That was her. She's just the nicest person. She is. She's the nicest person ever.

Jennifer Garner (JG): He's fibbing a little bit, because he was actually on it, on this movie first, so I was the one who knew he was doing it and said "Oh, yeah, we -- I've been dying to work with him forever."

Q: Were there any days on set that were really bad days, just like in the film?

SC: There was one that we kind of point to. The scene where we were outside, around the car, talking after the big accident and after the driving test. And it must have been 105 [degrees]. And so that was probably the most arduous day, physically.

JG: I think it was tough because the baby got upset.

Q: How many shrimp did you have to catch?

JG: He did that.

SC: How many what?

JG: Shrimp. Did you have to catch?

SC: Oh. I caught the shrimp.

JG: He caught the shrimp. They were saying "We'll CG [computer generate]" and Steve said, "I'll give it a go." He did it. We were very excited.

SC: Yeah, secret talent.

JG: Did you know you had that talent?

SC: I didn't.

JG: Until that moment?

SC: I didn't know that I had that eye-shrimp coordination.

Q: I have a question. You guys made a film where the parents in the film are very relatable, and just the kind of parents you'd want to have, but I kind of, in doing my research, realized they kind of parallel you guys. Any experiences where you were like, oh my gosh, I'm filming this and it's déjà vu 'cause this has happened?

SC: No. [LAUGHTER]. It doesn't. Excellent question. However, I think I related in the broad strokes of being a parent and my wife and I really co-parent. We divide and conquer in terms of everything that we need to do with our kids. So, I think I understood it and related to it on that level. But it's crazy. It's fun. It's ridiculous.

It's never what you think it's going to be. And, at the end of it all, you can't really take yourself too seriously, as a parent. That's the joy of it. I mean, but I relate. I think we both definitely related and brought our own experiences to the movie. And if things in the script or things that we were doing didn't feel genuine, we would speak up and we would offer our own personal experiences.

JG: For sure.

Q: Steve, Lisa [Henson, producer] told us you did the fire scene yourself, so I just wanted to hear about that.

JG: So exciting.

SC: Jen was like, petrified.

JG: I was so nervous. Even though I had been set on fire before, you know what it's gonna be, but I was so nervous to watch. I didn't want the kids to see him be set on fire, our movie kids. It was very, very tough on me.

SC: It really wasn't scary. I hope it looks scarier than it

JG: Steve, you got very, very unfunny.

SC: I got focused. I got focused.

JG: You got unfunny and very focused. You couldn't say that you did not -- you were not aware that you were on fire.

SC: I was aware that I was on fire, and I prepared to be on fire.

JG: And then you were on fire.

SC: And then I was on fire. And it's the type of thing you don't want to do a lot. You don't want to do 25 takes of the Steve on Fire scene. So, you just try to get it right that first time, so you can move on.

Q: And it was the first time? You did it perfect?

SC: Once or twice.

JG: I feel like it was twice.

SC: Yeah. I think we did it about twice.

Q: So, how was it, working with Dick van Dyke?

JG: So exciting. So exciting, I mean, Mary Poppins at my house, is like, one of the top three films of all happiness. I got him to do "Chim Chim Cheree" with me between takes. He was just funny and warm and lovely, and so accepts his role as being somebody that we've all grown up with and an icon in entertainment, with such grace. It was really a great day.

Q: I mean, doing such a fun movie, how many takes did you go through without laughing, because I will bet you were laughing the whole time. How hard was that?

JG: There are definitely scenes in the movie that, I don't know how they cut me to because I just wanted Steve to think that I was professional. And there were times where I just couldn't. I could not not laugh with him. I defy you to be in a scene with him and not laugh.

SC: The same from my perspective. The scene where she's screaming at the car in front of us. I mean, that's a side of her I had never seen before, and it was crushing me. It was so, so good.

JG: The scene where we were in the car, making the weird sound, and I look at him and he's going, "Arararara!" I can't even think about it. I can't watch it. Oh.

SC: I think [that] was part of just the joy of doing it. And the kids laughed too. It was work, and we tried to get it right, and we tried to do it well, but it also had to be fun. And buoyant. And we had to feel like what's the point of doing anything unless you're enjoying it. I think everyone had a good time doing it.

Q: What was your favorite scene to film?

JG: I liked when we were all together.

SC: That's what I was gonna say. We were all together for most of the movie.

JG: It's just, all of the fun stuff, is really, it's fun, it looks fun, and it is, and there was a day between scenes where they were setting up the cameras and it was the kind of thing where you would typically go back to your trailers, and do whatever you needed to do. And I would do an interview with one of you guys about something. Instead, they just put us in a little room in the house, and we all had our phones with us. And we sat with those kids, and nobody ever looked at their phones we just talked. We just, you wouldn't think that you would have that much to talk about with teenagers, you know, because it seems like they're from another planet. But these are the coolest group of the smartest, most interesting, engaging kids.

And the five of us just hung out together, and had the best time, and that, to me, is kind of the crux of this whole movie, was just that feeling in that room, and that nobody came in and bugged us. Nobody else was there. It was just us as a group. And it was something that we chose to do.

SC: On my last day, uh, Dylan and Kerris did a song for me that they had written.

JG: And Ed.

SC: And Ed. Yeah. The three of them. Sang this song. But I think the two of them wrote it and the three of them performed it, and I broke down. I really didn't see it coming. Yeah. I'm saying it because I want to elicit that response. It really crept on me, the emotion of it all, and the feelings that we all had, just over a couple of months for one another. And to see everyone again, and be doing press, is really fun.

JG: It's different when you work with kids. I know I'll see Steve. I'll always be glad to see him and hopefully we'll work together at some point, but we played these kids' parents. If you are working with kids, even though there are people there, making sure they're okay, and their parents, but you're the one saying, "Do you want a snack? Do you have to pee?" Do you know? "Are you tired?"

SC: There is a responsibility there.

JG: Yeah.

SC: You know. You want to make it okay for everybody. You want everybody to be happy. And be having fun. But, also, you know, you try to sense what's going on with them.

Q: Since you guys gelled so well and everything, did you ever play pranks on each other to make things fun or kind of loosen things up on the first day?

SC: I didn't play pranks. But someone at this table played pranks --

JG: I didn't play any pranks. I don't know about pranks.

SC: And I don't -- we'll probably -- we won't tell this story a lot.

JG: We don't need to tell the whole story. [LAUGHTER]

SC: We went to the same college at different times. So, early on, before we even started shooting, apparently Jen bought a bunch of Denison University paraphernalia.

JG: Everything they made.

SC: And throughout the shoot, a Denison cookbook would be in the background on the shelf, or some of the production assistants would be wearing Denison University hats.

JG: Or, truly, the whole crew would be wearing sweatshirts and sweatpants, and he never noticed any of it. It was amazing. I kept going further and further, and everyone would be like, and he's just totally a man. He's so oblivious. Right?

SC: I am clearly just a self-centered jerk.

JG: At the end, I called Nancy, his wife, and I said believe I'm not psycho [but] Can I stash a Denison chair, like, with Denison kind of engraved in the back, in your house? It was his last day. And see how long it takes him to find it.

Q: How long did it take?

SC: Like, two weeks. And she could hear me from downstairs. I started laughing, 'cause it was upstairs, in a corner, and I had been passing this chair for weeks, and it just registered that it was a Denison University chair, and I think I immediately texted you [Jennifer] my thanks and "well done." Kudos on a trick well played.

Q: In any relationship, I feel like one will be an optimist and one a worrier and stresser. Which one are you in your relationship?

SC: I don't think my wife and I fall into those categories, necessarily. We're equal parts of both, and I think on some days, we switch off that way, like, one day, one of us might be the optimist, and I think it's helpful, because you always have somebody who is Devil's advocate, saying, "You know, we have to get through this." And, 'cause if you both fall into the same place, then you're in trouble. Yeah, I don't know, I think it's very fluid in our house.

JG: I would say I am probably a bit more of the optimist, but yeah, definitely, if I go to the dark side, you know, he [Ben] switches roles, in a quick hurry. Can't both be -- we can't both be Debbie Downers at the same time.

Q: Do you guys follow the kids after you do all of the press junkets and stuff, or is it just kind of like, you're the teacher who sends them off hoping that they've learned something and that they think of you now and then?

JG: I'm starting to rack up onscreen kids. [LAUGHTER] And I started this with the first time I played a mom was in "Timothy Greene," and I started this then, and I feel like it's something to do with being "The Mom" too, that I really keep in loose touch, I would say. There's a little girl that I worked with in "Imagine" and I send books to her, or these kids that I e-mail with, their moms are with them, a little bit, you know, just enough to say, I am thinking of you if you need another set of ears, ever, you can always call me.

SC: Yeah. She's nicer about that than I am. Do I keep in touch? Well, I guess, not really. I see them at things like this, and the kids that I have been in movies with, I will see from time to time, and it's always nice to catch up and see how they're doing, but it's incredible how quickly they are not little kids anymore. I ran [into] Abigail Breslin. I ran into her at "The Tonight Show" a few months ago, and she's a completely different human being.

And fantastic, and accomplished, and wonderful. And that's sort of the joy there, for me, is to, you know, you do catch up, because these circles end up being. . .

JG: It's a small world. Right?

SC: Yeah. I mean, the circles are pretty small.

JG: Mm-hmm.

SC: And then you do tend to see people over the years and lightly catch up with them, so that's always nice.

Thank you Steve Carell and Jennifer Garner for allowing us to interview and being so gracious!

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ALEXANDER AND THE TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, NO GOOD, VERY BAD DAY opens in theaters everywhere October 10!!!!


  1. Thanks for sharing this with us. They both seem like genuinely nice people, which is awesome and kind of rare with the way some celebrities behave. What a great experience you got to have!

  2. Fun interview. These two seem like very nice, relatable people. They both seem very family oriented. Thanks fir sharing!