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11 Things We Learned About The Amazing Spider-Man 2

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Spidey is back in theaters today in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, the sequel to 2012’s The Amazing Spider-Man. We found out a little bit about the movie from the director, stars, and producers.

1. THE ENTIRE MOVIE WAS FILMED IN NEW YORK.

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In fact, it was the largest film to ever shoot in New York State. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 filmed on location in the boroughs of New York City and in Rochester, as well as at studios in Brooklyn and Long Island. Some places to look out for: the Hearst Tower at 57th Street and 8th Avenue, which doubles as Oscorp; Lincoln Center; Union Square; Brooklyn Bridge Park; and Chinatown.

2. SPIDEY’S SUIT LOOKS DIFFERENT THIS TIME AROUND.

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The suit in the first movie was designed to look like something a kid from Queens could actually make himself, using materials he could easily procure (the eyes, for example, were made with sunglasses). This time around, director Mark Webb wanted to stick a little bit closer to the suit that’s in the comic books, making the blue darker, and the eyes of the mask white and large. Costume designer Deborah L. Scott—who created Marty McFly’s iconic look in Back to the Future and made the costumes for Titanic—brought this version of the suit to life.

3. PRODUCERS WANTED TO MAKE GWEN STACY A TRUE EQUAL TO PETER PARKER.

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Producer Matt Tolmach said that in many of the previous Spider-Man movies, the focus has firmly been on Peter Parker’s journey—but it’s different in this film. “The truth is, [Gwen] is driving this story,” he said. “Peter is trying to keep it all together. That’s his struggle. Gwen has a real sense of who she is and what she wants. It’s not that it isn’t complicated but it’s incredibly empowering in a character. She’s making choices.”

Emma Stone, who plays Gwen, agrees. “I love how the relationship evolves in the second movie,” she said. “The clarity and maturity that Gwen has sort of achieved—I think because of the death of her father, honestly—has brought her life in sharp focus. So she’s really following her destiny. I think that’s one of the most inspiring parts of their relationship is that it is two incredibly equal parties.”

“When the comics were written—in the ‘50s and ‘60s—women didn’t really have much of a role in comics,” producer Avi Arad said. “They were supposed to look good and stay on the side and we are all very proud we were able to change [that] completely.” And a lot of that credit, he said, lies with Stone: “When you have a great actress and you give her the bulk of the material, now you have a real scene. You don’t just have someone screaming. When you have someone like that, you better make it a two person act all the time.”

4. THE CREW BUILT A REPLICA OF TIMES SQUARE.

For the scene where Spider-Man faces off against Electro for the first time, the crew shot for a couple of nights in Times Square—and then built a replica set at the studio in Long Island. “The logistical obligations of that scene were so complex, [that] we had to, and we could, amazingly,” Webb says. “I remember that scene came up in the script and we worked on it a little bit and I was sorta denying myself the pain/fear of how it was actually going to be shot.” The replica included the red TKTS stairs, recreations of storefronts, Father Duffy Square, and numerous Jumbotron scenes (the rest of the area was added later using CG).

But even though building the replica set allowed the crew the control they needed, it still wasn’t easy. “It was a very difficult thing, just in terms of bringing the amount of lights that were required, the amount of cement that was required,” Webb says. “Our production director did a really extraordinary thing, and it was a huge spectacle. There were explosions and extras and all that stuff.”

5. BOTH JAMIE FOXX AND DANE DEHAAN HAD TO UNDERGO A PHYSICAL TRANSFORMATION TO PLAY VILLAINS.

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Foxx wore 21 thin silicone facial prosthetics—which better mimic the quality of skin than foam prosthetics—to transform from Oscorp employee Max Dillion into Electro. The look was designed by The Walking Dead’s Greg Nicotero of NBB EFX Group and finalized by special effects makeup artist Howard Berger. “It was like taking me and dipping me into blue candle wax like four hours,” he said. It was also his idea to give Max a combover. “My sister is my hair stylist and she created the ‘Django’ look; Ray Charles and things like that,” he told Jay Leno. “When I’m the nerd guy, I want to be the first black man with a comb-over. I told her, ‘Make me look like I would look if I never made it.’”

DeHaan, meanwhile, endured 3.5 hours in the makeup chair—donning contacts, teeth, and prosthetics—to play the Green Goblin. “Then there was another hour just to get into the suit,” he said. “I literally had four people using screwdrivers and wrenches getting me into that suit.” Performing in the suit was tough not just because it weighed 50 pounds, DeHaan said, but because of the temperatures on set. “[The] set was at least 110 degrees. They were literally pouring buckets of ice water down my suit in between takes,” he said. “It had evaporated by the time they called action—that’s how hot it was. I think I lost 7 pounds in like two days. Which for me is a high percentage of my body weight.”

6. TO NAIL ELECTRO’S LOOK, THE VFX TEAM STUDIED ELECTRICAL PHENOMENA.

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After deciding on the right look for the makeup, Foxx said, “[The VFX crew] took it from there. Those guys are geniuses at what they do. [Jerome Chen, Sony Picture Imageworks Visual Effects Supervisor] was like, ‘We got it, we know what we want to do. We want to make a thunderstorm inside your body.’ It’s great to see it all work.” VFX artists made it look as though the electricity was inside of Electro, not just running along the surface of his skin, and watched footage of nighttime thunderstorms and bioluminescent animals and photos of nebulae to achieve the look.

Foxx was thrilled with the way the CGI and practical makeup worked together. “The CGI guys would come out and be there and look at me and take pictures and say ‘stand this way, say this, laugh,’” he explained. “It was really fun. It was like you were back at your crib where you’re looking in the mirror practicing on how to act. When I looked and saw what they did with the CGI, I was like that is incredible because people don’t even know that that is actually me. They think it’s all CGI.”

7. IN ONE SCENE, GARFIELD’S FOOT GOT BRUSHED BY A CAB.

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Andrew Garfield, who plays Peter/Spidey, has a favorite scene—which Webb and Stone also love—in which Peter and Gwen see each other for the first time in a year. Garfield had the idea that Peter should see her and cross the street, oblivious to all traffic. “[He] talked about cartoons—when the skunk gets a smell and he floats across,” Webb says. “It was that kind of idea.”

Peter Parker might have been oblivious to the traffic, but Garfield didn’t make it through unscathed. “In the take [that was] used, the taxi actually ran over my heel,” he says. “You can see a little facial recognition of that just as I’m about to step onto the pavement. Literally, a tire smacked my heel. It was really scary.”

8. PAUL GIAMATTI WANTED TO PLAY THE RHINO.

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The actor appeared on Conan O’Brien’s show in 2011 and said that if he could play one character in a Spider-Man movie, it would be The Rhino. “Rhino came to us for the role!” Arad said. The Rhino’s mechanized suit is entirely CG, but he wore a rig on set.

“[Paul] was so great to have on the set,” Tolmach said. “He just showed up and [was] about fun. This movie felt like we were now free in some ways to have fun, and to tell a bigger story—and a more tragic story. We were freed up of the obligations of origin. [We could] build a movie that we all really believed in and tell this big superhero opera. And that’s what you’re going to see more of going forward—the expansion of the universe with all these characters.”

9. CERTAIN SCENES WERE INSPIRED BY SILENT-ERA STARS.

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Webb, Garfield, and stunt coordinator Andy Armstrong are all big fans of silent film stars like Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin, who performed physical comedy on-camera. This time around, they wanted some of that physicality to inform how Spider-Man (and Peter Parker) moved. “Sometimes, Spider-Man is witty and sometimes not—he’s trying his standup routine out on the criminals before he takes it to the comedy floor,” Garfield says. “The physical ability he has—we don’t want to just be punching and kicking and being cool. There’s something sort of trickster element that we wanted to capture.” They hired Cal McChrystal, the physical comedy director on One Man, Two Guvnors, to help come up with a few moments.

“It was dipping into a different kind of filmmaking and acting,” Webb says. “If you sit down and watch a Charlie Chaplin movie and don’t listen to the music—or if you play different music over it, like a Pixar soundtrack—it becomes accessible in a way that is profound. It becomes emotional and beautiful and there’s something really powerful there. That was an attempt to bring back vaudeville for a second, which is a lost art. It was one of those things where people watch and it goes by and it's as it should be. But it took a long time to do.”

Armstong watched a particular scene from one of Keaton’s shorts where the actor grabbed the back of a moving car and is whisked out of the scene almost horizontally; once he figured out how Keaton did it, they emulated it for a shot in ASM2.

10. THE PRODUCTION BUILT RIGS TO DO STUNTS PRACTICALLY.

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A fight in a plane that kicks off the movie was accomplished mostly using actors and not stunt people. The crew built the interior of a G-5 plane and combined it with a motion base and two rings that could rotate the plane 360 degrees. They also used the rig in a later scene—inspired by Fred Astaire’s work in The Royal Wedding, in which the actor danced on the walls and ceiling—where Garfield rolls up onto the wall and walks along the ceiling, removing the Spidey suit. “All that stuff, people get a certain kind of pleasure from that,” Webb said. “It’s different from comedy, it’s different from action. it’s like watching people dance in a way. It’s physical virtuosity that people enjoy in a different kind of way.”

Garfield prefers to do his own stunts, but it's not always possible. "I used to be a gymnast and an athlete and it’s important to me—just like with every other aspect with the character—[that] I have some enjoyment of it," he said. "I don’t want to let it pass me by and watch somebody else play Spider-Man. I want to do it because it’s my only chance to really play it in a way that’s not just crawling up the doorway at my mum’s house. So I felt really stoked to get a chance. There’s me and there’s two stunt guys. It’s usually better man wins in terms of whatever stunt we’re doing. Sometimes it’s just the insurance risk is too high if I do them. If I die, the movie has to stop."

11. THE MOVIE WAS SCORED BY HANS ZIMMER … AND A FEW FRIENDS.

It was Webb’s idea for the Oscar-winning composer to form the supergroup that would create the music for The Amazing Spider-Man 2. The band called itself The Magnificent Six and featured Pharrell Williams, Johnny Marr (The Smiths), Michael Einziger (Incubus), Junkie XL, Andrew Kawczynski, and Steve Mazzaro. The idea, Zimmer told Billboard, is that “Peter Parker, is a kid, he's just graduating. If he had to listen to music and that was the way he expressed emotion, it wouldn't be big Wagnerian horns and Mahler strings. It would be rock ‘n' roll.”

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15 Fascinating Facts About Julia Child
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Julia Child was much more than just a bestselling cookbook author and chef. Over the course of her life, she was also a breast cancer survivor, a TV trailblazer, and a government spy. It's the famed chef's spy game that will be the focus of Julia, a new series being developed by ABC Signature and created by Benjamin Brand.

The project will draw its inspiration from Child's PBS program, Cooking for the C.I.A. “I was disappointed when I learned that in this case, the C.I.A. stood for the Culinary Institute of America,” Brand told Deadline. “Cooking Secrets of the Central Intelligence Agency always seemed like a more interesting show to me. Many years later, when I read a biography of Julia Child and learned about her experiences during World War II, working for the Office of Strategic Services—the precursor to the C.I.A.—the story of Julia quickly fell into place.”

Though Julia will be a work of fiction, here are 15 facts about the beloved cook.

1. SHE MET THE INVENTOR OF THE CAESAR SALAD WHEN SHE WAS A KID.

As a preteen, Julia Child traveled to Tijuana on a family vacation. Her parents took her to dine at Caesar Cardini’s restaurant, so that they could all try his trendy “Caesar salad.” Child recalled the formative culinary experience to The New York Times: “My parents were so excited, eating this famous salad that was suddenly very chic. Caesar himself was a great big old fellow who stood right in front of us to make it. I remember the turning of the salad in the bowl was very dramatic. And egg in a salad was unheard of at that point.” Years later, when she was a famous chef in her own right, Child convinced Cardini’s daughter, Rosa, to share the authentic recipe with her.

2. THE WAVES AND WACS REJECTED HER BECAUSE SHE WAS TOO TALL.

Like so many others of her generation, Child felt the call to serve when America entered World War II. There was just one problem: her height. At a towering 6'2", Child was deemed “too tall” for both the Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES) and Women’s Army Corps (WAC). But she was accepted by the forerunner to the CIA, which brings us to our next point.

3. SHE WAS A SPY DURING WORLD WAR II.

Child took a position at the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), which was basically the CIA 1.0. She began as a research assistant in the Secret Intelligence division, where she worked directly for the head of the OSS, General William J. Donovan. But she moved over to the OSS Emergency Sea Rescue Equipment Section, and then took an overseas post for the final two years of the war. First in Ceylon (present-day Sri Lanka) and later in Kunming, China, Child served as the chief of the OSS Registry. This meant she had top-level security clearance. It also meant she was working with Paul Child, the OSS officer she would eventually marry.

4. SHE HELPED DEVELOP A SHARK REPELLENT FOR THE NAVY.

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While Child was in the Emergency Sea Rescue Equipment Section, she helped the team in its search for a suitable shark repellent. Several U.S. naval officers had been attacked by the ocean predators since the war broke out, so the OSS brought in a scientist specializing in zoology and an anthropologist to come up with a fix. Child assisted in this mission, and recalled her experience in the book, Sisterhood of Spies: “I must say we had lots of fun. We designed rescue kits and other agent paraphernalia. I understand the shark repellent we developed is being used today for downed space equipment—strapped around it so the sharks won’t attack when it lands in the ocean.”

5. SHE GOT MARRIED IN BANDAGES.

Once the war ended, Paul and Julia Child decided to take a “few months to get to know each other in civilian clothes.” They met with family members and traveled cross-country before they decided to tie the knot. The wedding took place on September 1, 1946. Julia remembered being “extremely happy, but a bit banged up from a car accident the day before.” She wasn’t kidding; she actually had to wear a bandage on the side of her face for her wedding photos. The New York Review of Books has one of those pictures.

6. SHE WAS A TERRIBLE COOK WELL INTO HER 30S.

Child did not have a natural talent for cooking. In fact, she was a self-admitted disaster in the kitchen until she began taking classes at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, where she and Paul lived for several years. Prior to her marriage, Child simply fed herself frozen dinners. It was probably the safest choice; one of her earliest attempts at cooking resulted in an exploded duck and an oven fire.

7. A LUNCH IN ROUEN CHANGED HER LIFE.

Child repeatedly credited one meal with spurring her interest in fine foods: a lunch in the French city of Rouen that she and Paul enjoyed en route to their new home in Paris. The meal consisted of oysters portugaises on the half-shell, sole meunière browned in Normandy butter, a salad with baguettes, and cheese and coffee for dessert. They also “happily downed a whole bottle of Pouilly-Fumé” over the courses.

8. IT TOOK HER NINE YEARS TO WRITE AND PUBLISH HER FIRST COOKBOOK.

Mastering the Art of French Cooking revolutionized home cooking when it was published in 1961—but the revolution didn't happen overnight. Child first began work on her famous tome in 1952, when she met Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle. The French women were writing a cookbook aimed at teaching Americans how to make French cuisine, and brought Child onboard as a third author. Nine years of research, rewrites, and rejections ensued before the book landed a publisher at Alfred A. Knopf.

9. SHE GOT FAMOUS BY BEATING EGGS ON BOSTON PUBLIC TELEVISION.

Child’s big TV break came from an unlikely source: Boston’s local WGBH station. While promoting Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Child appeared as a guest on the book review program I’ve Been Reading. But rather than sit down and discuss recipe semantics, Child started cracking eggs into a hot plate she brought with her. She made an omelette on air as she answered questions, and viewers loved it. The station received dozens of letters begging for more demonstrations, which led WGBH producer Russell Morash to offer Child a deal. She filmed three pilot episodes, which turned into her star-making show The French Chef.

10. ALL HER ESSENTIAL UTENSILS WERE KEPT IN A “SACRED BAG.”

According to a 1974 New Yorker profile, Child carried a large black canvas satchel known as the “sacred bag.” Rather than holy artifacts, it contained the cooking utensils she couldn’t live without. That included her pastry-cutting wheel, her favorite flour scoop, and her knives, among other things. She started using it when The French Chef premiered, and only entrusted certain people with its care.

11. SHE SURVIVED BREAST CANCER.

Child’s doctors ordered a mastectomy in the late 1960s after a routine biopsy came back with cancerous results. She was in a depressed mood following her 10-day hospital stay, and Paul was a wreck. But she later became vocal about her operation in hopes that it would remove the stigma for other women. She told TIME, “I would certainly not pussyfoot around having a radical [mastectomy] because it’s not worth it.”

12. HER MARRIAGE WAS WELL AHEAD OF ITS TIME.

As their meet-cute in the OSS offices would suggest, Paul and Julia Child had far from a conventional marriage (at least by 1950s standards). Once Julia’s career took off, Paul happily assisted in whatever way he could—as a taste tester, dishwasher, agent, or manager. He had retired from the Foreign Service in 1960, and immediately thrust himself into an active role in Julia’s business. The New Yorker took note of Paul’s progressive attitudes in its 1974 profile of Julia, noting that he suffered “from no apparent insecurities of male ego.” He continued to serve as Julia’s partner in every sense of the word until his death in 1994.

13. SHE WAS THE FIRST WOMAN INDUCTED INTO THE CULINARY INSTITUTE OF AMERICA'S HALL OF FAME.

Child spent her early years working for what would become the Central Intelligence Agency. In 1993, she joined another CIA: the Culinary Institute of America. The group inducted Child into its Hall of Fame that year, making her the first woman to ever receive the honor.

14. SHE EARNED THE HIGHEST CIVILIAN HONORS FROM THE U.S. AND FRANCE.

Along with that CIA distinction, Child received top civilian awards from both her home country and the country she considered her second home. In 2000, she accepted the Legion D’Honneur from Jacques Pépin at Boston’s Le Méridien hotel. Just three years later, George W. Bush gave her the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

15. HER KITCHEN IS IN THE SMITHSONIAN.

In 2001, Julia donated the kitchen that Paul designed in their Cambridge, Massachusetts home to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. Although it’s not possible to walk directly through it, there are three viewports from which visitors can see the high counters, wall of copper pots, and gleaming stove. Framed recipes, articles, and other mementos from her career adorn the surrounding walls—and, of course, there’s a television which plays her cooking shows on loop.

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15 Surprising Facts About Steve Carell
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From the seven seasons he spent as the star of NBC’s The Office to leading man roles in comedy classics like The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Steve Carell has become one of Hollywood’s most in-demand funnymen. But he has proven his dramatic chops, too, particularly with his role as John du Pont in Foxcatcher, which earned Carell an Oscar nomination for Best Actor in 2015. Even if you’ve seen all of his movies, there’s probably a lot you don’t know about the Massachusetts native, who turns 55 years old today.

1. HE THOUGHT HE WANTED TO BE A LAWYER.

Steve Carell attended Ohio’s Denison University, where he received a history degree in 1984, and had planned to move on to law school. But when it came time to apply, he found himself stumped by the first question on the application: Why do you want to be a lawyer?

“I had never considered acting as a career choice, although I’d always enjoyed it,” Carell told NJ.com in 2011. “I enjoyed hockey and singing in the choir, and I didn’t think of them as potential careers, either … But I began to realize I really loved acting, and telling stories. Reading a book, watching a movie, going to a play, it’s transporting, and very, very exciting. And to be a part of that, creating things with your imagination, whoa."

2. HE WORKED AS A MAILMAN.

Shortly before he moved to Chicago and performed with The Second City, Carell worked as a postal carrier in the tiny town of Littleton, Massachusetts. Because the post office didn’t have its own mail vehicles, Carell had to use his own car. He kept the gig for just four months, then took off for the Windy City. “And months later, I found mail under the seat of my car,” he admitted. Carell also said it was the hardest job he has ever had.

3. HE WAS HIS WIFE’S TEACHER.

No, it’s not as risqué as it sounds. Carell met his wife, Nancy Walls, through an improv class at Second City; he was the teacher, she was one of his students. “I beat around the bush [before asking her out] and said something stupid like, ‘Well, you know, if I were to ever ask someone out, it would be someone like you,’” Carell told Details of his earliest attempts at flirting. “It’s so stupid, but it was all self-protection. She was the same way: ‘If somebody like you were to ask me out, I would definitely go out with him. If there was a person like you.’” The couple married in 1995 and have appeared in several projects together.

4. THE COUPLE HAD TO BREAK UP (ON CAMERA) ON THEIR 17TH ANNIVERSARY.

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For Lorene Scafaria’s underrated 2012 end-of-the-world dramedy Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, Steve and Nancy played a married couple who split up when it’s announced that an asteroid heading toward Earth will obliterate the planet in three weeks. Their break-up scene happens very early on in the movie, and they ended up filming it on their 17th wedding anniversary.

“She gets to leave me right at the beginning,” Carell told Parade. “They used the take where her shoe came off in the car, and she bolted across that field with one shoe on. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her run that fast. We shot the scene on our 17th anniversary. [The director] got us a cake and the crew sang ‘Happy Anniversary’ to us. It was very sweet, a very special night."

5. HE AND HIS WIFE AUDITIONED FOR SNL TOGETHER; ONLY ONE OF THEM MADE IT.

In 1995, the same year they married, both Carell and Walls auditioned for Saturday Night Live. Walls made it but Carell didn’t, which must have made for one awkward celebratory dinner. But it all turned out well in the end; Carell went on to become a household name and has hosted the show on two occasions.

6. HE WAS ONE HALF OF “THE AMBIGUOUSLY GAY DUO.”

Though he missed out on the chance to become a regular SNL cast member, there was a silver lining: He was free to say “yes” to taking a role on The Dana Carvey Show, a sketch show that SNL alum Dana Carvey created for ABC. Though it was short-lived, the show was full of amazing comedic talent; in addition to Carvey and Carell, the show featured Stephen Colbert, Bob Odenkirk, and Robert Smigel and a writers room that included Louis C.K., Charlie Kaufman, and Robert Carlock. The show marked the debut of Smigel’s recurring animated sketch, “The Ambiguously Gay Duo,” which followed the adventures of Gary and Ace, who were voiced by Carell and Colbert, respectively. After the show was cancelled, Smigel brought the “Duo” over to Saturday Night Live.

7. HE OWNS A GENERAL STORE IN MASSACHUSETTS.

While many A-list stars run side businesses—restaurants, wine companies, clothing lines, etc.—the Carells' second gig is a little less glamorous. In 2009, they bought the Marshfield Hills General Store in Marshfield, Massachusetts—where they spend their summers—in order to preserve it as a local landmark. 

“The main impetus to keep it going is that not many of those places exist and I wanted this one to stay afloat,” Carell told The Patriot Ledger. “Just generally speaking, there are not that many local sort of communal places as there used to be ... I think it’s nice for people to actually go and talk and have a cup of coffee and communicate with one another."

8. HE PLAYS THE FIFE.

Yes, Carell has got some musical talent and can actually play the fife. It’s a skill he acquired early in life, and shares with several of his family members. And it came in handy when he joined a reenactment group that portrayed the 10th (North Lincoln) Regiment of Foot, a line infantry regiment with the British Army.

9. HE WAS NOT THE FIRST CHOICE TO PLAY MICHAEL SCOTT IN THE OFFICE.

Though Michael Scott, the clueless manager of paper company Dunder Mifflin’s Scranton, Pennsylvania branch in The Office, is still probably Carell's best-known role, he wasn’t the first choice for the part. Paul Giamatti was reportedly the first choice, but he declined. Hank Azaria and Martin Short were also in the running. Bob Odenkirk was actually cast in the role because Carell was committed to another series, Come to Papa. But when that show was cancelled after just a few episodes, the role of Michael Scott was recast with Carell. (Odenkirk appeared in one of the series’s later episodes, playing a boss who was eerily similar to Carell’s Scott.)

10. WHEN CARELL LEFT THE OFFICE, THE CAST AND CREW “RETIRED” HIS NUMBER ON THE CALL SHEET.

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When Carell left The Office after seven seasons to focus on his film career, the cast and crew continued one tradition in his honor. “Steve was No. 1 on the call sheet because he was the lead of the show,” co-star Jenna Fischer told TV Guide. “And when he left, we retired his number. No one, ever since he left, was allowed to be No. 1."

11. HE WAS IN TALKS TO PLAY RON DONALD ON PARTY DOWN.

Before Party Down made its premiere on Starz with Adam Scott playing failed actor Henry Pollard, it was supposed to be an HBO series with Paul Rudd in the lead. And Rudd was pushing for Carell to play bumbling catering manager Ron Donald, as The Office didn’t get off to a great start and looked to be in danger of getting cancelled. Ultimately, HBO ended up abandoning the project, which Starz scooped up—with Scott as Pollard and Ken Marino as Ron Donald.

12. JAMES SPADER REALLY WANTED TO PLAY BRICK TAMLAND IN ANCHORMAN.

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Though it was The 40-Year-Old Virgin that turned Carell into a leading man on the big screen, his role as oddball meteorologist Brick Tamland in Anchorman brought him a lot of attention. But if James Spader had his way, Carell would never have appeared in the role at all. In a 2013 interview with Baller Status, director Adam McKay shared that before the film was even cast:

“I get a phone call and I hear that James Spader is obsessed with Brick's character. I say ‘James Spader? That is insane, will he come in and read?’ They say, ‘No, he's not going to come in and read; he's James Spader!’ James Spader and I end up talking and he called it about the Brick character. He thought it was one of the funniest character he ever read and we weren't even sure if it was going to work. He literally said, ‘I will do anything to get this role.’ Eventually, we were just like, ‘This is James Spader; he is too good for this role.’ But, he was right about how funny it was. The movie studio even questioned us and said how bizarre Brick is, and it wouldn't work. I felt bad we didn't cast James, but Carell was so good.”

Spader proved his comedic chops in 2011, when he was cast as Robert California, Michael Scott’s replacement on The Office (who quickly manages to convince the company owner to appoint him as CEO).

13. UNIVERSAL STUDIOS' EXECUTIVES WERE CONCERNED THAT CARELL WAS COMING OFF AS A SERIAL KILLER IN THE 40-YEAR-OLD VIRGIN.

Though it turned out to be one of 2005’s biggest hits, getting the tone right on Judd Apatow’s The 40-Year-Old Virgin proved to be a fairly difficult task. At one point, executives at Universal Studios expressed their concern to Apatow that Carell might come off as a serial killer to viewers.

"There is a fine line," producer Mary Parent told the Los Angeles Times. "Men and women alike could look at him and if he's too much of a sad sack, they will think, 'Dude, get a life.’” Apatow ended up adding several lines about the fact that Carell’s character could be a serial killer.

14. HE LEARNED MAGIC FROM DAVID COPPERFIELD.

In 2013, Carell played a magician in The Incredible Burt Wonderstone. In order to get the role just right, he went straight to the top: David Copperfield. The famed illusionist taught Carell and co-star Steve Buscemi a trick called “The Hangman,” and they were both sworn to secrecy. “I actually had to sign something that I would not divulge,” Carell told The Hollywood Reporter. “So that was kind of cool.”

15. HE OFFERED PRINCETON'S 2012 CLASS SOME TIPS FOR SUCCESS.

In 2012, Carell delivered a speech to Princeton University graduates—which included his niece—during Class Day. He ended his talk by offering some tips to the grads:

“I would like to leave you with a few random thoughts. Not advice per se, but some helpful hints: Show up on time. Because to be late is to show disrespect. Remember that the words 'regime' and 'regimen' are not interchangeable. Get a dog, because cats are lame. Only use a 'That's what she said' joke if you absolutely cannot resist. Never try to explain a 'That's what she said' joke to your parents. When out to eat, tip on the entire check. Do not subtract the tax first. And every once in a while, put something positive into the world. We have become so cynical these days. And by we I mean us. So do something kind, make someone laugh, and don't take yourself too seriously.”

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