If you're a Steve Carell fan and in need of a massive multimedia fix, this, my friend, is your time to indulge. Yesterday a DVD set of the entire first season of The Office hit stores, and tonight at 8 pm/ET, NBC will air a four-episode minimarathon of the workplace comedy — peppered throughout with teases for Carell's new feature film, The 40 Year Old Virgin, which opens Friday.
"The cross-promotion they can do is great," Carell says of the NBC/Universal Pictures synergy. "Because if the movie is successful, it will end up helping the TV show and vice versa."
Especially with Season 2 of The Office arriving just weeks from now, on Sept. 20. Carell and his Dunder Mifflin employees are are looking forward to "going back to work," now that the onus of living up to the revered BBC series of the same name is lifting. "You certainly don't want to be held up constantly to a television icon," notes Carell. "So I was absolutely relieved when we were off and running in our own original episodes. At that point, I felt the show started to gain some traction."
Going forward, Office executive producer Greg Daniels promises that viewers will see three dimensions to Michael, Carell's daft boss man, who won't just be depicted as an all-out jerk. "Oh, I'm going to make you cry," Carell quips. "I will make you cry this season."
Turning a touch more serious, the actor concurs with Daniels, saying, "Ultimately, I want to show more of the pathos and more of who Michael is in terms of his sensitivity — or not. [But] it's a matter of pacing yourself in terms of revealing [too much] about these characters."
After all, the last thing viewers want to do is root for Michael, who embodies to an extreme — or not — the misguided boss for whom many of us have worked, at one time or another. Surveying his roles in TV's The Office and The Daily Show, and film's Bruce Almighty and Anchorman, Carell denies that he intentionally plays these less-than-brilliant characters. "So far I have accepted every acting job I've ever been offered," he says. "I just happened to be getting these parts that actually paid money, and so I said, 'Yes, I will do that.' But I hope someday to actually play a part that's less of a jerk."