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Get Smart in our magazines

THE MOVIE: Get Smart

Steve Carell • Anne Hathaway • Dwayne Johnson • Alan Arkin • Terence Stamp
DIRECTOR: Peter Segal

Steve Carell THE CONCEPT:
Based on the popular sixties TV series, Maxwell Smart (Carell) and Agent 99 (Hathaway) are sent on their most dangerous mission: to thwart the latest plot for world domination by the evil crime syndicate KAOS, headed by Siegfried (Stamp)

U.S. RELEASE: June 20 2008, Nationwide
• Rated: PG-13


Steve Carell steering away...

“I steered away from [watching the series] because I didn’t want to do an impression of Don Adams. I figured there was no way to improve upon what he had done, and I thought the more I watched of him, the more I would be inclined to be an impersonation, because he was so good and so definitive in the role.”

Anne Hathaway“I actually grew up watching the show on Nick at Nite, and I loved it. So it was really fun to revisit it. I wanted to revisit it because I was one of the last people cast, so I unfortunately missed the whole collaboration, ‘this is the movie we’re making’ part of the process. I wanted to be sure that I understood what tone we were trying to achieve, and I really think that in the final product we’ve managed to have that silly, sweet, yet sophisticated, feel that the original series had.”

Alan Arkin“In making [the role of ‘Chief’] my own, I made the choice 30 years ago not to watch the show! It was easy.”

Steve Carell and Peter Segal“Once Steve signed onto this project, everything fell into place. Everybody wanted to come and play, because of the tone that we set out to make, which Steve and I referred to as a comedic Bourne Supremacy. We went after the people who would make those kinds of movies.”

Terence Stamp“I’m always flattered when I get approached about doing funny stuff. I guess it’s just unusual for somebody as devastatingly good looking, possessing wisdom and sexy, for people to think I can do comedy. I didn’t know about the TV series of Get Smart, I didn’t see it, but I thought Siegfried, somebody who is rather pretentious and looks down his nose at absolutely everybody, was one of those characters that I could do something with. It was such a great team of people, so I did have a lot of fun doing it, even though I have to make a fool of myself, which I don’t like.”

Dwayne Johnson"I watched the show when I was a kid and I was a big fan. When they first said they were going to remake Get Smart into a movie I think immediately [my] reaction was, ‘Oh, here we go, they’re messing with something that’s great.’ But the material was great, all the elements came together, I love Steve Carell, and Anne Hathaway came on and then Alan Arkin signed on, which was wonderful.”

“I worked out for the film and made my body a physical specimen to be admired; fine tempered steel is what most people said (he laughs). I tried not to get killed – that was my MO in this. There’s a scene in which Maxwell and Agent 99 were riding a banner behind a moving SUV, but the safety crews were great. I never felt that anything was in jeopardy - the stunt people did the really heavy lifting and did a great job.”

“Being pulled by the train was definitely our Titanic moment. I did feel safe all the time, and the danger really never entered my mind. When I would describe to my mother what I was doing, she would have the heart attack for me.”

“We had to put the shoe phone in, and that was tricky because how do you make something like that, that’s so iconic, and was really the ancestor of today’s cell phone, relevant in a movie like this? We came up with a few of our own gadgets to go along with some of the iconic ones.”

“My process for all my movies is to get really close with the director and make sure we’re on the same page, sharing the same vision and tone for the movie. It was a character I was excited to play. When I first thought about Steve Carell and myself side by side it was just funny, and it made me laugh from the get go. Then it was funny on the page, and I thought, ‘We have a pretty good shot of making a funny movie.’”

“It takes editing to cut out all the times I’m laughing hysterically. I try specifically not to laugh when someone else is doing their thing because, if somebody is doing something inspired or incredibly funny, it’s a gift. To take that away by laughing I think is a cardinal sin. But there are times when you just can’t help yourself. There’s a scene in the movie when Alan is trying to pronounce a name at the Cone of Silence sequence, the scene probably took five times longer than it should have because I couldn’t control myself. So I took that gift from Alan, and that just killed me.”

Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

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Feature © 2008 Visual Imagination.
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Film Review, #697, Summer 2008 cover

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