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'Dinner for Schmucks': Behind the Scenes

Steve Carell’s mousterpieces were an exercise in taxidermy F/X

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Everybody needs a hobby, including Dinner for Schmucks‘ chief dweeb Barry (Steve Carell), who builds tiny tableaux with taxidermied mice. Creating these works for the screen was like mounting an entire movie on a 12-inch scale, complete with teams of set builders, costumers, and lighting technicians. The time-consuming project was headed by Stephen, Charles, and Edward Chiodo, Bronx-born brothers and F/X artists who built the complex puppets in Team America: World Police.

Working with more than 100 mice — rest easy, PETA! They used posable figurines instead of real critters — the Chiodos assembled 30-plus dioramas: scenes of the Last Supper (below), Kitty Hawk, and a particularly frustrating one involving the Earl of Sandwich, which required specially molded bread and condiments for the rodent BLT. ”We definitely had those ‘throw it against the wall’ moments,” says Edward Chiodo. ”I love the idea that what took 30 people nearly a year, Barry does all on his own.”