“In addition to how funny it was, I really liked the movie’s theme of true love, that there is a soulmate for every person, and that you should be willing to fight for that person no matter what,” says Steve Carell, who plays lead character, Cal. “If love doesn’t conquer all, it conquers most things, and thanks to the resilience of the human heart, we can find a way to make it work, to find that love again, or a different love. The spirit of the story is very hopeful and very sweet.”
In the film, after 25 years of marriage, Cal’s wife, Emily (Julianne Moore), suddenly asks him for a divorce, revealing she’s had an affair. For suburban insurance man Cal, who apparently hasn’t paid much attention to his wife—or his life—lately, the news comes completely out of left field, setting him on a road to discover just where he might’ve left the man he used to be. The first stop on that path: drowning his sorrows in fruity cocktails sipped from tiny straws at a local bar, where he sticks out like the poor schlub he’s become.
“Up until that very moment, Cal is happy and content in his marriage, so he is totally blindsided by Emily’s declaration,” affirms Carell. “It completely catches him off-guard, and he can’t really think. He needs to reevaluate his entire life, and figure out what he’s going to do. Is he just going to give up? Is he going to get back out there? I mean, this is a guy who’s been married for many, many years.”
Cal gets help reinventing himself from an unexpected and, at first, unwelcome source, the very single, very self-assured Jacob Palmer, played by Ryan Gosling. Unbeknownst to Cal, the dashing local playboy has been watching him bore the bartender with his sob story night after night.
Asked what was it like to work with Ryan Gosling, Carell beams, “I think we got along right off the bat. He’s such a good person. I knew going in that he was a good actor, but you have no barometer for what someone’s going to be like in real life. And he couldn’t have been a kinder, more generous person. I instantly liked him, and I think it helps.
“I suppose you can act those sort of things, but it helps when you genuinely like and care for someone,” Carell adds. “I think it’s clearly more organic, and we just had fun. Ryan’s a funny guy. He’s a great improviser. He’s completely open to experiment and be playful, which is how I like to work. So, if there is a chemistry, I feel like it was real, because we became friends.”
Carell, who’s also one of the film’s producers, thinks the story of “Crazy, Stupid, Love” is so universal, it will resonate with all kinds of people. “I think the idea of love in its many forms is a very universal sort of theme. It’s hard to describe this movie as a love story, because I think it’s so much more than that. I think people usually think of love stories as purely a romantic love between a man and a woman, and this movie is about that. But it’s also about friendships and the love inherent there, a love between a family. So, I think it connects to people because it seems genuine. It doesn’t seem to push or force, and without being too precious with it, seems to represent these different relationships and how they weave into one another in an organic way.”
He concludes, “It’s something that, as a producer and an actor, I think the directors and the writer, all of us, really were cautious to not make this an overly precious movie but a fun one and a realistic one. I think people connect with ideas when they don’t feel as though they’re being manipulated, and that’s something we all strove to do.”
Opening across the Philippines on Aug. 17, “Crazy, Stupid, Love” is distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.