Monday, June 18, 2007


He Talks About Co-Stars Morgan Freeman and Wanda Sykes

Starring in Evan Almighty has been a miraculous experience for comedian Steve Carell. He had a small role in the Bruce Almighty and never expected to star in the sequel. “When director Tom Shadyac told me Jim Carrey was not interested in starring in the new film and they wanted me, I said ‘I’m in.’ He said, ‘Don’t you need to discuss it with you agent?’ and I said, ‘No, I’m in’ and here I am.” Just like that, Carell’s life was forever changed. Universal Pictures will release Evan Almighty nationwide on June 22nd.

Carell stars with Academy Award winner Morgan Freeman and comedian Wanda Sykes, in Evan Almighty, a comedy for the whole family. He plays Evan Baxter, newly elected to Congress, who leaves Buffalo behind and shepherds his family to suburban northern Virginia . Once there, his life gets turned upside-down when God (Freeman) appears and mysteriously commands him to build an ark.

Sykes plays Evan’s administrated assistant, who confronts his unorthodox transformation to a Holy man, which has befuddled his family, who just can't decide whether Evan is having an extraordinary mid-life crisis or is truly onto something of Biblical proportions.

Freeman brings his unique brand of sly comedy and quiet wisdom—also returns to the franchise as God, coming to intercede in the life of the Baxters with a command for the husband and father that will shake the very foundation upon which Evan stands.

Regarding Freeman, Carell says, “Morgan has a presence. He is iconic and I hold him in high regard. People have a reverence for him. He is such a superb actor who makes everyone working with him better.”

His experience with comedian Sykes was another unique experience. “Wanda is beyond funny. She has that biting, sarcastic type of humor that literally messed me up when we were filming. 90% of her lines were ad libs, so when she would spout out her lines, I would burst out laughing,” Carell admits.

Carell has emerged as one of the most sought after comedic actors in Hollywood . First gaining recognition for his contributions as a correspondent on Comedy Central’s Emmy Award-winning The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Carell has successfully segued into primetime television and above-the-title status in the film world with equal aplomb.

Carell opened his first lead feature, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, which he co-wrote with director Judd Apatow, at number one, a spot it remained in for two straight weekends. The surprise hit of 2005 went on to gross more than $175 million worldwide and had number one openings in 12 countries. Carell currently stars in the Americanized adaptation of the acclaimed British television series The Office.

Freeman extensive feature film credits include Brubaker, Eyewitness, Harry & Son, Teachers, Marie, That Was Then…This Is Now, Street Smart (for which he won the Los Angeles, New York and National Society of Film Critics Awards for Best Supporting Actor of 1987, and was nominated for both Golden Globe and Academy Awards®), Clean and Sober, Johnny Handsome, Glory, Driving Miss Daisy (for which Freeman earned his second Academy Award® nomination as well as a Golden Globe Award and Silver Bear for Best Actor at the Berlin Film Festival in re-creating the role that he created on stage), Chain Reaction and Paramount’s adventure Hard Rain.

In 1993, Freeman made his feature directorial debut with Bopha!, starring Danny Glover and Alfre Woodard and soon thereafter formed Revelations Entertainment, a production company developing entertainment product in all existing and emerging media that “enlightens, inspires and glorifies the human experience.”

The Shawshank Redemption, based on a Stephen King novella, brought Freeman his third Academy Award® nomination. He also starred as abolitionist Theodore Joadson in Steven Spielberg’s Amistad; as the President of the United States in the box-office hit Deep Impact; and opposite Ashley Judd in the highly successful thriller Kiss the Girls. Neil LaBute’s Nurse Betty, which saw Freeman performing with Chris Rock and RenĂ©e Zellweger, was released to critical acclaim in 2000.

Freeman then reprised his Kiss the Girls role as Alex Cross in Along Came a Spider, which was a box-office smash in the spring of 2001. Freeman again starred with Ashley Judd in Carl Franklin’s High Crimes; performed opposite Ben Affleck in the hit action thriller The Sum of All Fears, based on the Tom Clancy novel; starred alongside Billy Bob Thornton, Kirsten Dunst and Holly Hunter in the independent film Levity, which was selected to open the 2003 Sundance Film Festival; performed in Dreamcatcher, also based on a work by Stephen King; and The Big Bounce, a thriller based on a novel by Elmore Leonard. Freeman co-starred in Clint Eastwood’s Million Dollar Baby, which earned him a Golden Globe nomination, a SAG Award and an Academy Award® for Best Supporting Actor.

Other recent credits include Luc Besson’s Unleashed, opposite Jet Li; An Unfinished Life, opposite Robert Redford and Jennifer Lopez; Batman Begins; and the Academy Award®-nominated March of the Penguins, which he narrated. Freeman most recently starred in Lucky Number Slevin, with Bruce Willis and Josh Hartnett; 10 Items or Less, with Paz Vega; and The Contract, with John Cusack. Recently, he finished production on Rob Reiner’s The Bucket List, co-starring Jack Nicholson.

Currently, Freeman is filming the fantasy-thriller Wanted for Universal Pictures, with Angelina Jolie and James McAvoy; and will reprise his role as Lucius Fox in the next installment of the Batman series for Warner Bros., The Dark Knight.

Sykes has been called “one of the funniest stand up comics” by her peers and ranks among Entertainment Weekly’s 25 Funniest People in America . Her smart-witted stand-up has sent her career in many different areas.

She was last seen co-starring with Luke Wilson and Uma Thurman in the romantic comedy My Super Ex-Girlfriend and in the New Line feature Monster-in-Law, opposite Jennifer Lopez and Jane Fonda, and was recently heard in the animated features Over the Hedge, for DreamWorks, and Barnyard, for Paramount Pictures. She also recently guest starred on The New Adventures of Old Christine and on NBC’s Will & Grace. She was seen on Comedy Central’s Wanda Does It, where she tried various non-showbiz jobs. Her first book, titled “Yeah, I Said It” and published by Simon & Schuster, hit bookstores in September 2004. “Yeah, I Said It” is a hilarious collection of essays touching on life, family and current events.

In fall 2003 she was seen on Fox’s Wanda at Large, which she wrote and produced and in which she starred. She also starred in a one-hour Comedy Central special titled Wanda Sykes: Tongue Untied. In addition, she was recently seen on HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm and heard on Comedy Central’s Crank Yankers as the voice of Gladys Murphy.

Sykes was born in Portsmouth , Virginia , and raised in Maryland . She graduated with a bachelor of science degree from Hampton University . Her stand-up career began at a Coors Light super talent showcase in Washington , D.C. , where she performed for the first time in front of a live audience.

She spent five years as part of HBO’s critically acclaimed The Chris Rock Show. As a performer and writer on the show, she was nominated for three Primetime Emmys and, in 1999, won the Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Program. In 2001, she won the American Comedy Award for Outstanding Female Stand-Up Comic. She won two more Emmys—one in 2002 and one in 2004—for her work on Inside the NFL. In 2003, Sykes earned a Comedy Central Commie Award for Funniest TV Actress. Other writing credits include the MTV 1999 Music Video Awards, the MTV Movie Awards, the 74th Annual Academy Awards®, The Keenen Ivory Wayans Show and Wanda at Large.

She has also appeared in the feature films Clerks II, Pootie Tang, Nutty Professor II: The Klumps and Down to Earth.

Evan Almighty’s cast also includes Lauren Graham (Gilmore Girls, Bad Santa), John Goodman

(The Big Lebowski, Roseanne), John Higgins (The Break-Up, Fun With Dick and Jane), Jonah Hill (Accepted, Knocked Up), Johnny Simmons (My Ambition), Graham Phillips (The Ten Commandments: The Musical) and Jimmy Bennett (Firewall). Tom Shadyac produces Evan Almighty with production partner Michael Bostick (Bruce Almighty, Accepted) for Shady Acres Entertainment. Gary Barber (The Pacifier, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) and Roger Birnbaum (Shanghai Knights, Rush Hour 3) produce for Spyglass Entertainment, along with Neal H. Moritz (Click, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift).

Ilona Herzberg, Dave Phillips, Matt Luber, Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman serve as executive producers.

UPDATE: As of June 24, the film, in its first weekend, was No. 1 at the Box Office taking in $32 million.


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