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Dan in Real Life in our magazines

THE MOVIE: Dan in Real Life

Steve Carell • Juliette Binoche • Dane Cook
DIRECTOR: Peter Hedges

Steve Carell and Juliette Binoche THE CONCEPT:
Family advice columnist and widowed father Dan Burns (Carell) takes his three daughters to Rhode Island for the annual fall weekend thrown by his large family, where he runs into the beautiful Marie (Binoche) in a bookstore. Their obvious attraction to each other is cut short when Marie says she has to leave, but she does give him her card. But on arriving back at his parents’ house, he discovers Marie is his brother Mitch’s (Cook) girlfriend.

U.S. RELEASE: October 26 2007, Nationwide • Rated: PG-13


“I liked that this was a chance to explore a family that wasn’t really dysfunctional or broken. Too many romantic comedies are disconnected from how most people live in the world – and I think what makes Dan in Real Life different is that you can really identity with these characters.”

“In my mind Dan is a guy who is just doing his best to get through, and get by, and raise three daughters by himself, not someone to wallow in self pity, just someone who has put other people and other things ahead of himself, and kind of loses a part of himself in the process. That’s the element of the movie that I can identify with, and I think a lot of people can.”

“I think inside of Marie there are so many needs unfulfilled. She’s like an orphan in need of a family. So this big house with a whole bunch of kids and good atmosphere just fulfills some kind of emptiness she feels. But I think that she needs to be perfect to hide her fragility.”

“I wanted somebody who would feel real as Dan, who would be both funny and heartbreaking. And Steve is obviously quite funny, but he also is a very soulful man. Fortunately, he was brave enough to try something quite different from what people are accustomed to him doing and to show a side we haven’t seen before.”

“There was hardly any adlibbing on the film, We play around with the script a lot on The Office, and we didn’t so much with this. I think it’s just a different discipline, it was much more like doing a play, because Peter comes from a theatre background, and when you do a play you don’t improvise the lines, you do them as scripted. They were scripted to the point to make them look unscripted, which I think really speaks to the quality of the writing.”

“I met with Steve in Los Angeles, because Peter wanted to see if we had chemistry, so he made us sing together. I met him, just sat down and said, ‘Hi, how are you?’ And then we sang a song I didn’t know. And with Dane, we had to dance together. It was a little frightening.”

CARELL on how his character Michael Scott in ‘The Office’ would handle the role of Dan:
“If Michael Scott was in the role of Dan, for one thing he probably wouldn’t be invited to the family weekend, and let’s face it, he wouldn’t have any daughters because no woman would have sex with him to procreate.”

Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

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Images above © Touchstone Pictures
Feature © 2007 Visual Imagination.
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Film Review, #689, November 2007 cover

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