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'Get Smart': On the red carpet

Catching up with Steve Carell, Anne Hathaway, and Dwayne Johnson at the L.A. premiere of their new spy spoof

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Steve Carell, Anne Hathaway
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

How much fun did Steve Carell and Anne Hathaway have while making Get Smart, their update of Mel Brooks and Buck Henry’s classic television spy spoof? Plenty, judging by all the good humor sported by cast and crew at the film’s Los Angeles premiere on June 16. Outside the Hammer Museum in the city’s Westwood neighborhood, Carell, Hathaway, and others talked to us about sweating on the red carpet, kissing with moisturizer, and the perfect title for a sequel.

ON MOVIE PREMIERES

Steve Carell (Maxwell Smart): ”I am not a huge fan of the suit in the summertime, I have to admit. Believe me, had I been able to pull off a polo, shorts, and some flip-flops at this bad boy, I would have. But there is a code somewhere, I swear, that forces anyone in a film to wear a suit to the premiere…. Dan in Real Life was a fall film and that premiere was much more comfortable. Maybe I should only take serious parts. I will tell my agent all I want to do now is play drug addicts and serial killers and grieving husbands. I don’t think there would be much call for my skills in that arena: There aren’t many films where addicts have to get waxed or show their butts or bust out a well-delivered ‘That’s what she said.’ So I think I am stuck with the suits and the sweating.”

Anne Hathaway (Agent 99): ”Oh my God, that is [Carell’s costar on The Office] Jenna Fischer [standing] right behind me. [Starts breathing hard and puts her hands to her face] I love her. She is hilarious. I am not kidding when I say, ‘I could pass out right now.’ I would love to work with her someday.”

ON GETTING ”THE CALL”

Carell: ”I was so surprised when I was just given this part. I went into the room expecting to have to audition for the role. I took a headshot, even. And when they said I was who they had in mind for Max, my head exploded. I had never just been offered a part without auditioning. It was a very, very big deal to me. I didn’t take it lightly. Moments like that you have to memorize in your mind because you never know if they will happen again.”

Hathaway:The Office and 30 Rock are my favorite shows, so I was such a weird fangirl when I first met Steve…. And now I need to get in a Tina Fey project. If she ever needs me to cameo on 30 Rock I would be in, in a hot second.”

NEXT PAGE: ”I think a second one would be bigger and better than the first. That’s how action comedy sequels work, right? That’s my assumption. More action, more bad guys, more jokes, more me making a fool out of myself.”

ON THE HARD WORK OF COMEDY

Dwayne Johnson (Agent 23): ”Steve Carell has very soft lips. You didn’t hear that from me, but it made kissing him easier. I think he moisturizes.”

Carell: ”They tried to make it an origin story so we could see where Maxwell Smart came from. I came up with things that were original to the character, and it is my take on Maxwell Smart…. A lot of people assume he is just a bumbling idiot but he’s not. I see him as eager and smart, but a bit counterintuitive. He is thrust into this world of spies and he can handle himself fairly well up to a point — and then we get the comedy. He is eccentric and different but lovable, not unlike Michael from The Office: He always means well.”

Hathaway: ”I had so much fun playing with these boys. And I got to hold my own with them, more importantly, because it was always in the script that I got to win. They are such good boys, too, because they never seemed to mind being showed up by a girl.”

ON WHETHER THERE WILL BE A SEQUEL

Peter Segal (director): ”I always start a project thinking about how I would feel if it was presented to me as a moviegoer: Would I want to see this movie? And when I saw that Steve Carell had signed on, I thought it was perfect. I thought it was interesting to find out where Max came from and how he met 99, and I think there is a generation out there who isn’t familiar with the original so this brings them in as well. Showing how it all began, as in Casino Royale or Batman Begins, was an interesting and successful way of rebooting and reinvigorating a franchise…. Of course I would be willing to do a sequel. I had more fun on this movie than anything I have ever worked on before. But I don’t know if there will be one. This took a long time to make and come together, so I’m sure they would be careful with a sequel. Also, [this film] would have to be successful, and there would have to be a demand for No. 2.”

Carell: ”If [this] goes well and people want to see more of me as Maxwell Smart and they want to see another one, I’d love to do it. I think a second one would be bigger and better than the first. That’s how action comedy sequels work, right? That’s my assumption. More action, more bad guys, more jokes, more me making a fool out of myself while Anne Hathaway gets to look smart and beautiful and cool.”

Hathaway: ”In a heartbeat. I think there are endless story angles for a sequel. This one preserves the heart of the TV series but also makes it and the situations they encounter very current and modern. I love all the bits with the thinly veiled president played by James Caan. Peter Segal is a genius and Steve is genius and I had fun wearing cool trench coats and shooting guns and kicking booties. It was just a lot of fun, so I would come back for a sequel in a heartbeat. And I’ve already done a sequel [The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement] so it isn’t like I have shame about revisiting a character that works.”

Johnson: ”They’ve already got the easy title for a second one — Get Smarter. Bam! Done!”

Charles Roven (producer): ”I don’t count my chickens before they hatch.”

ON GET SMART‘S BOX OFFICE PROSPECTS

Johnson: ”I think more people will see this than [my indie bomb] Southland Tales. Get Smart is slightly more accessible.”

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