Steve Carell is one of the last decade’s greatest on-screen comedy minds, which makes it easy to forget that he has dramatic acting chops as well.
The most prominent demonstration of this ability to date has been “Little Miss Sunshine,” in which he played the depressive uncle. Carell created a sympathetic hero out of what could have been a caricature.
His performance as a widower in “Dan in Real Life” also had gravity to it, though that movie might be one of his lowest-profile since becoming a star.
Whether you saw these earlier efforts or not, though, there will be more opportunities on the horizon.
“Once” director John Carney just signed on to direct Carell in “Dogs of Babel,” about a linguistics professor who tries to teach his dog to talk after it witnesses his wife’s death.
Add this to “Foxcatcher,” in which Carell will portray the schizophrenic murder John du Pont, and you have two films that, in light of the comedy-challenged Academy, both look like Oscar vehicles.
In addition, he’s got a few other weighty projects in the pipeline, including heist flick “Conviction,” marriage-counseling dramedy “Great Hope Springs,” with Tommy Lee Jones and Meryl Streep and “Imagine,” about an old musician trying to connect with his biological son.
Hopefully one of these gives Carell a suitable setting in which he can demonstrate his range and skill — and perhaps a bit of Oscar bait.
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