Make us your home page

Paying homage. Smart move.

Steve Carell, left, and Anne Hathaway star as Maxwell Smart and Agent 99 in Get Smart, a movie based on the 1960s TV hit.

Associated Press

Steve Carell, left, and Anne Hathaway star as Maxwell Smart and Agent 99 in Get Smart, a movie based on the 1960s TV hit.

LAS VEGAS — Steve Carell did not necessarily see the Maxwell Smart in himself. Everyone else did, including co-star Anne Hathaway, who plays Agent 99, and the studio behind the big-screen Get Smart, which simply called Carell in and offered him the job. Carell and Hathaway chatted about the movie and the actors in the 1960s TV series, Don Adams and Barbara Feldon.

People tend to be skeptical about TV adaptations, but when Steve was cast as Max, they kind of nodded and said, "Good choice." What do you and Don Adams have in common?

Carell: There's a bit of a physical resemblance that would be part of the equation. But aside from that, it's hard talking about him in the same breath as myself, because I don't aspire to be as good as he was. He's iconic and the way he did the character is iconic, and I don't have any pretense of trying to live up to that. If anything, I'm just trying to get an essence of what he did as opposed to any sort of imitation or channeling.

Hathaway: I thought it was perfect casting. He pays me to say this, but Steve's being very, very humble, because his take on Max is just spectacular. ...

Now the same question for Anne. What do you and Barbara Feldon have in common?

Hathaway: I appreciate this question now. It's a tough one. I'm so very different from Agent 99, and the bar that Barbara Feldon set and what Barbara Feldon's 99 meant to people, I'm never going to be able to touch that. The world was in a very different place then. We needed Agent 99. When Barbara Feldon played her, we needed to see a girl who could keep up with the boys, who was smart and who was sexy while being smart. She inspired so many women. ...

Carell: Anne was the first person to come in and do a screen test. It was actually the first time I'd said any of the lines. And after she walked out of the room, we all looked at each other and knew it. It was almost as if everyone else could have gone home at that point, frankly. ...

Why has Get Smart endured so well?

Hathaway: It's sophisticated family humor. That's what the show had going for it. My parents watched it when they were kids, and then when it was on Nick at Nite in reruns, I would watch it with them when I was a kid. In addition to it just being so funny was the chemistry that Don Adams and Barbara Feldon had. ...

Carell: Also, look at who created it: Mel Brooks and Buck Henry. In terms of having longevity, Young Frankenstein is still one of my favorite movies. The Producers, obviously. His stuff just holds up.

Paying homage. Smart move. 06/17/08 [Last modified: Monday, November 1, 2010 12:06pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours