CLOSE
Original image
iStock

25 Foreign Travel Warnings for Visiting the U.S.

Original image
iStock

What do foreign tourists worry about when they visit the U.S.? Expensive emergency healthcare, overly sensitive attitudes towards nude sunbathing, and gross tap water, apparently. That's according to travel warnings for potential U.S. tourists from around the world. These government-issued advisories can seem like common sense for Americans, but they also reveal significant cultural differences between the U.S. and other countries.

Most countries warn their citizens of America’s high rates of both firearm possession and crime. Don’t anger Americans, several countries subtly hint, lest they have a gun. Many warn visitors to get travel insurance since, unlike at home, they won’t be covered by a national healthcare system should they get injured. Others provide even more specific advice to avoid certain neighborhoods and businesses. Here are 25 unexpected travel warnings from around the world aimed at those visiting the U.S. (most are approximate translations from the country’s official language):

1.  DON’T GET RIPPED OFF AT AN ORLANDO GAS STATION (UK)

The British government, in its travel advisories, singles out Orlando, Florida for ripping off tourists. “Petrol stations that do not display the price of fuel usually charge considerably more than the national average for a gallon of fuel. They’re often found close to tourist destinations and airports, and notoriously near to Orlando International Airport.” 

2. TAKE CARE OF THE FLOWERS (CHINA

The Chinese government suggests several common rules of etiquette for the U.S., including the following suggestion: “Take good care of flowers and trees, etc.”

3. DO NOT USE HOTMAIL OR GMAIL (AUSTRALIA)

For business travelers, Australia specifically advises against using Gmail or Hotmail for email. “Use discretion when deciding whether to link to free internet services available in public places to connect to your corporate network. Avoid using webmail services such as Hotmail or Gmail for official business.”

4. DO NOT STALK ANYONE (GERMANY)

Germany sees fit to advise its citizens against following and harassing others on American soil: “In the U.S., repeatedly following or repeatedly harassing another person, called ‘stalking,’ is punishable by law.”

5. WATCH OUT FOR GUNS AT NIGHTTIME (CANADA)

Canada, like many other countries, warns its citizens that guns are much more common in the U.S. than in other countries. Its travel warnings advise that “the possession of firearms and the frequency of violent crime are generally more prevalent than in Canada. Within large metropolitan areas, violent crime more commonly occurs in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods, particularly from dusk to dawn. Verify official neighborhood crime statistics before planning an outing.”

6. STAY AWAY FROM THE EAST COAST (CHINA

Annapolis, Maryland

The Chinese government says that the West Coast of the U.S. is safer than the East Coast: “Overall, the western United States is safer than the eastern portion, and a city is relatively safe during the day compared to at night.”

7. REALLY, WATCH OUT FOR GUNS (GERMANY)

Seriously, foreign travelers get an earful about America’s love affair with firearms. Here’s what the German government says: “In the USA, it is comparatively easy to obtain possession of guns. If you are the victim of an armed attack, do not try to fight back!”

8. DOORS MIGHT BE CLOSED (RUSSIA

In a warning about crime, the Russian government advises: “In some parts of the country, especially in derelict areas within the major cities, the majority of people prefer to keep their doors closed and to avoid going out alone at night.”

9. DO NOT INSPIRE ROAD RAGE (CHINA

The Chinese government wants its citizens to be polite behind the wheel: “Be courteous to other vehicles while driving; unless it is absolutely necessary, avoid using the horn and avoid other behavior that can easily anger other drivers.”

10. DO NOT TALK TO PROSTITUTES (GERMANY)

Prostitution may be legal elsewhere in the world, but in the U.S., it’s still a no-no. Germany reminds its citizens that “in many U.S. states, it is a criminal offense to engage in sexual activities with prostitutes. Even talking to a prostitute may be punishable by law.”

11. DON'T PEE IN THE STREET (SWITZERLAND

Switzerland is careful to note that the U.S. takes a very hard-line stance against nudity, especially when kids are involved. Also, it cautions, don't pee on things: “The legal system can be very different from one state to another and is often inspired by more rigid moral principles than in Switzerland. For example, bathing topless or without a shirt is forbidden (even for children), as is urinating in the street or taking partially naked pictures of children (even at home).” 

12. DON’T JOKE ABOUT BOMBS (UK)

Reminder: Americans don't have a sense of humor about terrorism. “Don’t make flippant remarks about bombs or terrorism, especially when passing through US airports," the UK government warns. 

13. TRY TO AVOID BEING NAKED (GERMANY

The prudish U.S. is not quite as into nude sunbathing as other cultures. Like Switzerland, Germany advises its citizens that they might find themselves on the wrong side of the law while just trying to enjoy a day at the beach: “Although the laws in individual states criminalizing nudity as ‘indecent exposure’ are rarely prosecuted and punished, it should definitely be noted that nude bathing, and even changing clothes on the beach, can be construed as indecent exposure and therefore may cause problems. Only at a few beaches is nude bathing permitted or even tolerated. On all other beaches, nudity—even for infants—should be avoided. The same applies to ‘topless’ bathing—not only of adult women, but also of little girls.”

Germany also warns of America’s sometimes odd attitudes toward breastfeeding: “In almost all states, breastfeeding babies in public is now considered an exception to ‘indecent exposure’ criminal provisions,  but would be best treated like any other nudity, at least in restaurants and bars, or in less ‘liberal’ regions.”

14. FEEL FREE TO SHACK UP (AUSTRIA)

Don’t be afraid to get a single hotel room with your special friend, Austria advises: “The rights of homosexual couples are liberal. Also, the cohabitation of unmarried couples (in hotels, etc.) can take place without any problems.” Finally, a positive advisory! 

15. DON’T CUT IN LINE (CHINA

Queuing etiquette is not universal. The Chinese government sees fit to warn its citizens of the U.S.’s obsession with line order: “In the United States, when many people are lining up for services at some distance away from the window, wait your turn in line. Failing to observe this convention could lead to unnecessary disputes.”

16. DON’T EXPECT AIR TRAVEL TO BE SAFE (CANADA)

The Canadian government is not impressed by U.S. air safety policies. “Do not expect safety standards to be the same as in Canada,” it warns. Maybe Canadians just aren’t used to having to take off their shoes? 

17. VACCINES DON’T CAUSE AUTISM (MEXICO)

The Mexican government recommends getting vaccinated for measles and other preventable diseases before visiting the states. Then, it forcefully underlines the safety of vaccination (loosely translated): “There is [absolutely] no link between the MMR vaccine and autism.”

18. THE TAP WATER TASTES GROSS (AUSTRIA

Austrians are not into the taste of American tap water: “Tap water—while not very tasty (it’s chlorinated)—is usually considered safe to drink.” 

19. THE AMERICAN DREAM ISN’T REAL (RUSSIA

Russia’s travel advisories get snarky, advising Russians of the U.S.’s hypocrisy over economic inequality: “The ‘American dream’ originates from here, as does another model—the special democratic character of American society with its ‘incredible freedom.’ However, due to the presence of the ‘young aristocracy’—already formed in the 20th century—and the specific model of American society, inequalities in socio-economic status between rich and poor are no lesser than in any other country in the world.” 

20. EXPECT HARASSMENT IN ARIZONA (MEXICO) 

After Arizona passed SB 1070, the Mexican government issued a travel warning for its citizens about traveling, living, or studying in the state. It warned that under the law (which was designed to target undocumented Mexican immigrants), foreigners without the right documentation can be detained. Furthermore, “all Mexican citizens could be bothered or questioned without motive at any moment.”

21. YOU MIGHT GET EXTRADITED (RUSSIA

Extradition is such a hot-button issue in U.S.-Russia relations that the Russian government warns its citizens not to visit the U.S. or any other country it doesn’t have an extradition treaty with, lest they be arrested and handed over to a foreign government, as in the case of Russian cyberhacker Vladimir Drinkman. The Russian government accuses the U.S. of “hunting” for its citizens: 

Despite our appeals for Washington to establish normal cooperation between law enforcement agencies on the basis of bilateral agreements on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters (from 1999), the U.S. authorities continue the unacceptable practice of ‘hunting’ for Russians all over the world, ignoring international law and twisting the arms of other countries. The number of such cases has exceeded a dozen. The latest examples include Spain handing over Dmitry Belorossova and Vadim Polyakov to the Americans, and the extradition of Vladimir Drinkman to the United States from the Netherlands.”

22. WATCH OUT FOR EXPENSIVE DOCTOR VISITS (AUSTRALIA)

Compared to many other industrialized nations, the United States has an exorbitantly expensive medical system. So when foreign travelers have an accident, the price tag of a hospital visit can be quite a shock. Australia’s government, like many others, strongly recommends preparing with a comprehensive traveler’s insurance plan: “Remember, regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. The Australian Government will not pay for a traveller's medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs...A visit to a doctor in the United States for even minor complaints can cost several hundred dollars, excluding laboratory tests or medication costs.” 

23. DON’T LEAVE TRASH IN YOUR CAR (CANADA)

An article from Canada’s CBC News warns travelers of the legality of civil asset forfeiture—a widespread practice where U.S. police officers confiscate cash during traffic stops—advising that, “if you’re on an American roadway with a full wallet, in the eyes of thousands of cash-hungry cops you’re a rolling ATM.” The correspondent has several tips for Canadians who get pulled over on American roads, including “don’t leave litter on the vehicle floor, especially energy drink cans,” and “try not to wear expensive designer clothes.”

24. TAXI DRIVERS KNOW NOTHING (RUSSIA

The Russian government is not impressed with U.S. taxi drivers: “Taking a taxi is not always convenient, as most American taxi drivers are recent immigrants who speak English poorly. It often turns out that the tourist knows the city better than the taxi driver.”

25. PAY YOUR TRAFFIC TICKETS (GERMANY)

Germany urges people to pay their fines for traffic violations: “If you have received a citation (‘Ticket’) for parking, speeding, or something similar: Please pay it!” It begs the question—are traffic tickets optional in Germany?

All images: iStock

Original image
TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images
arrow
Food
15 Fascinating Facts About Julia Child
Original image
TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images

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.

Hulton Archive/Getty Images

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.

Original image
Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for CinemaCon
arrow
entertainment
15 Surprising Facts About Steve Carell
Original image
Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for CinemaCon

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.

Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

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.

NBC Universal, Inc.

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.

Dreamworks, LLC. All rights reserved.

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.”

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios