In Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, beloved actor Steve Carell plays Dodge, a man whose wife leaves him upon learning that an asteroid is barrelling toward earth. Dodge then sets out to find his high school sweetheart accompanied by his whimsical young neighbor, played by Keira Knightley. Carell, whose breakout role came in 2005’s The 40 Year Old Virgin, can demand the pick of the litter when it comes to comedy roles, but he says there was something special about Seeking a Friend.

“I read the script and it was one of those scripts which stuck with me, because it was just that — it was a mixture of comedy and tragedy,” Carell said in our exclusive video interview. “A very dark comedy, certainly. And it had this sort of metaphorical feeling to it. How people press on looking at their potential doom. What people do, and how people align themselves, and where their priorities are. So, to me that was really interesting. And it wasn’t necessarily to approach it as a comedy or a drama; it was just to approach it kind of honestly. That was my hope.”

Carell added that playing a man with only three weeks left on earth was a welcome challenge. “This movie definitely had a feel to it that other things did not,” he said. “Because no matter where my character is, no matter what he’s doing, and even if he’s forgotten about this news, even momentarily, it’s definitely informing his life and there’s that sense of it always hanging over the character. So, just as an acting exercise it was fun, because I always had that sense. That this guy is going through something with a dark cloud looming over his head.”

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, also starring Adam Brody and Connie Britton, hits theaters June 22.

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