In the film, Dodge (Carell) is a man who has always played by the rules of life, while his neighbor Penny (Knightley) is an extroverted woman who hasn’t. From these opposite perspectives, both initially choose to navigate the impending end of the world with blinders on. Dodge declines joining his friends in increasingly reckless behavior, while Penny fixates on her relationship issues with a self-absorbed musician. On the road together, the unlikely traveling companions’ respective personal journeys accelerate, and their outlooks – if not the world’s – brighten.
“Up until this tipping point, these two people have lived their lives very differently,” says writer-director Lorene Scafaria. “As much as Dodge has avoided life, Penny has been diving in head first. Together, they find they can face the end of the world.”
Knightley recalls why she’s drawn to the script with an unusual premise. “My agent sent me the script. I thought it was one of the most strangely optimistic pieces that I’d read, and I instantly said, ‘Yeah, I want to be a part of it.’ It was one of the best scripts I’d seen in years – and so unique. I got on the phone with Lorene and we had a great chat for about an hour. I don’t think we even actually talked about the film. We talked about our mothers, and about family.”
Producer Mark Roybal notes that “there’s a profound depth Keira brings to Penny even when her character’s behavior is whimsical, spontaneous, or flighty. There’s a light in her eyes that reflects her inner light, which is why Penny is Dodge’s beacon.”
Producer Steve Golin adds, “Keira is a lot of fun to watch as Penny. She is well known for making movies set in different time periods, so playing a funny modern girl – in sneakers! – is a fresh turn for her.”
Knightley admits, “I love doing modern-day movies – because I’m able to get up later in the morning.”
“I knew she’d be amazing and stunning and super-smart,” says Scafaria. “But here’s the surprise; she is so damn funny. So there’s this refreshing blend of Keira, known as a dramatic actress, being more of a comedienne; and Steve, known as a comedic actor, doing a more dramatic role.
“Steve and Keira play off each other so well and have such great chemistry. Getting to hear my words said by these two actors? I couldn’t have asked for more.”
Watch the trailer here: