Steve Carell’s Best Drama Performances, From Foxcatcher to Vice

actors like Robin Williams, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jim Carrey, and Dustin Hoffman are popular for having done equally dramatic and comedic work. It takes true acting talent to keep reinventing yourself to surprise an audience. Both genres require great skill, but not every great actor can do both. JackBlack couldn’t have played Lincolnbut Daniel Day-Lewis surely couldn’t have done it School of Rock. Steve Carell is best known for his role as Michael Scott in the American version of The office. Although Carrell dipped his toes in comedy films like that anchorman franchises and The 40 year old virgin, he quickly proved that he was interested in exploring more dramatic subjects. Carrell’s commitment to serious projects isn’t just a gimmick to surprise audiences. Over the past two decades, Carrell has gone from “the best boss ever” to one of today’s most versatile actors.

Carell will next be seen in the Hulu psychological thriller series The patientbut look at his other major dramatic works as well.

RELATED: Why Steve Carell’s best dramatic performance is in ‘Little Miss Sunshine.’


Frank Ginsburg in Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

Little Miss Sunshine was the “little film that could”. The Sundance sweetheart became a sensation with audiences and made it into awards season, earning a Best Picture nomination at the Oscars when there were only five nominees. Although the subgenre “Sundance Dramedy” has become a cliché, Little Miss Sunshine does a great job of fleshing out each member of the Ginsburg/Hoover family. The journey to her daughter Olive (Abigail Breslin), participating in a beauty pageant allows each family member to process their fears. While there are many humorous misadventures, Carrell treats Frank’s suicide attempt and his depression with due seriousness.

Trent Ramsey in The Way Back (2013)

Deceptive, domineering and ignorant are all words that could describe Michael Scott, but Carrell proved those traits weren’t so funny in Sundance’s coming-of-age dramedy The way, way back. The summer story follows teenage loner Duncan (Liam James), who is forced to spend an entire vacation with his mother (Tony Collette) and her wealthy boyfriend Trent (Carrell). Trent uses every opportunity to insult Duncan and make him feel worthless. It’s amazing that one of Hollywood’s most likeable guys can become so utterly despicable on screen.

John du Pont in Fox Catcher (2014)

Carrell truly transformed in the riveting 2014 sports drama foxcatcher to play the role of John du Pont. Based on the shocking true story, foxcatcher follows Olympic wrestling coach’s obsession with gold medal-winning brothers Mark (Channing Tatum) and David Schultz (Markus Ruffalo), which ultimately led to du Pont murdering one of the brothers. It’s not just the heavy prosthetics that make Carrell so terrifying; He does a great job of creating an aura of the spooky. Carrell’s eerie work earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor.

Mark Baum in The Big Short (2015)

Carrell must prove his comedic skills The great short film, but his hysterical rage is fully justified. Carrell examines the psychology of financial skeptic Mark Baum, who raised awareness of the fraudulent nature of the US housing market. Carrell depicts the tragedy that leads Baum to call attention to corruption; As he reflects on his brother’s suicide, he admits that all he could offer him was money. Interesting, The great short film was also Carrell’s first dramatic venture anchorman Director, Adam McKay.

Phil Stern in Cafe Society (2016)

cafe society Set in 1930s Hollywood and New York, it follows young Jewish man Bobby Dorfman (Jesse Eisenberg) when he lands a job with his wealthy uncle Phil (Carell), whose skills as a talent agent have impressed Hollywood. A conflict arises when both Bobby and Phil fall in love with secretary Vonnie (Kristen Stewart). cafe society is a comedy of mistakes. Although we cheer for Bobby, Carrell doesn’t turn Phil into a total jerk.

Bobby Riggs in Battle of the Sexes (2017)

battle of the sexes tells a story about media sensationalism and gender roles that is very important today. The famous tennis match where Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) against former world champion Bobby Riggs (Carrell) was a seminal moment for women in sports. While Riggs often makes sexist remarks on his television appearances, Carrell reveals that he doesn’t really believe what he’s saying. Riggs is a showman desperate to make money, and he doesn’t necessarily expect everyone to take his word for it.

Larry Shepard in Last Flag Flying (2017)

Carrell has never been so heartbreaking. in the Richard Linklater‘s “spiritual sequel” to the 1973 classic The final detailCarrell plays Larry Shepard, a Vietnam veteran who reunites with his old comrade-in-arms Sal Nealon (Bryan Cranston) and Richard Muller (Laurence Fishburne). Although they haven’t seen each other in decades, Sal and Richard agree to accompany Larry on the trip to the funeral of his son, a soldier who died in action. It’s a heartbreaking performance; Carrell’s silence shows the pain of a grieving father who looks to his former acquaintances as a means of coping.

David Sheff in Handsome Boy (2018)

It is to Carrell’s Excellency that he is able to defy some questionable conspiracies Beautiful boy. The film’s lengthy melodramatic sequences and uneven editing mar the story somewhat, but the relationship between David Sheff (Carrell) and his drug-addicted son, Nicolas (Timothy Chalamet) never feels less than captivating. Without these powerhouse services Beautiful boy would essentially be a Lifetime movie. However, Carrell’s realistic sensitivity, anger and confusion over his son’s illness is as heartbreaking as ever.

Donald Rumsfeld in Vice (2018)

After their successful dramatic collaboration on The great short filmCarrell and McKay worked together again on the 2018 biopic Vice. Vice is the chillingly true story of the purely evil men who operated in plain sight. Carrell’s exaggerated performance as a former US Secretary of Defense would seem absurd if it wasn’t based on a real person. As Dick Cheney (Christian Bale) Rumsfeld asks “what they believe in”, Carrell just laughs and taunts him.

Mitch Kessler in The Morning Show (2019-)

Carrell’s return to television saw him in a much more serious role than in The office. The morning show follows the aftermath of a public scandal when “America’s favorite morning news anchor,” Mitch Kessler (Carrell), is accused of sexual misconduct and fired. Mitch’s co-host and close friend Alex Levy (Jennifer Aniston), is both shocked and heartbroken. Carrell treats the sensitive material with the necessary attention to detail; Unable to see that he is wrong, Mitch lashes out when his peers try to correct him for his mistakes.

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