Steve Carell Reveals Hilarious Reason Studio Almost Shut Down 40-Year-Old Virgin


Steve Carell has revealed that Universal almost pulled the plug on ‘The 40-Year-Old Virgin’ just five days into filming.


Because executives thought that he looked like a serial killer.

The 2005 movie, which also marked Judd Apatow’s directorial debut, saw Carell playing unlucky in love electronics store worker Andy Stitzer as the titular involuntary celibate.

But in an interview with Conan O'Brien, he’s said that it almost never made it to the screen, after Apatow submitted those first daily rushes.

“After the first week, Universal pulled the plug,” he said.


“We were doing a scene on location somewhere, and Judd Apatow came in an said 'Universal wants to talk to us, they’re shutting us down’.

“This was on a Friday afternoon, so we had to go in and they said 'we’ve been watching footage, and you look like a serial killer’.

“You, Steve Carell, look like a serial killer. And we hadn’t even shot any dialogue, it was just me riding my bike with a weird helmet, and me walking down the street and seeing suggestive posters… and just that week compiled, they went 'oh, no, no, no’. This is not a comedy.


“I was so bummed out. I thought 'that’s it’. That was the big shot, and it wasn’t going to work out. And then, thankfully, we started up on Monday, and we finished shooting. But it was very close.”

Now Apatow is arguably the leading player in Hollywood comedy, while the movie went on to do very decently at the box office, making £122 million from its modest £14 million budget.


It also did wonders for Carell’s career, released only a year after he first impressed audiences with his demented Brick Tamland in 'Anchorman’.

You can remind yourself of the movie, which featured a breakthrough role for Seth Rogen, below…

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Image credits: Universal/Rex Features