KEIRA KNIGHTLEY AND STEVE CARELL TALK ABOUT SEEKING A FRIEND FOR THE END OF THE WORLD & WHERE THEY WOULD GO IF THE WORLD WAS ENDING
What would you do if you knew the world was going to end? Steve Carell and Keira Knightley play unlikely friends in their new movie Seeking a Friend For The End Of The World.
A 70-mile-wide asteroid is en route to Earth, and the last best attempt to counter it has failed. Also failing is the marriage of soft-spoken insurance salesman Dodge (Steve Carell); the breaking news that the world will end in an estimated 21 days cues his wife to leave him on the spot. This is what Seeking a Friend for the End of the World is about. It seems like pretty grim stuff but according to Keira Knightley and Steve Carell, it’s actually a story of positivity.
“I play Penny, who I think is one of the most positive characters I’ve ever played. She’s at a time in her life when things are changing and she doesn’t know quite where she’s meant to be or who with, and it just so happens that the world is ending,” Knightley says. “She wants to find someone unlikely to spend the rest of her time with. It’s one of things I loved about this project; you‘ve got this thing that’s about the end of the world yet it’s incredibly positive and it becomes about what’s important: love, friendship and the wonderful moments in life.”
“I think Lorene Scafaria’s (writer/director) story beautifully transcends aspects of the normalcy of life. The movie is about finding the value of life, and finding what makes you happy,” adds Carell.
Trying to find the good in the tragedy that lies ahead, Dodge and his neighbour Penny come together to navigate the impending end of the world with blinders on. Dodge declines joining his friends in increasingly reckless behavior, while Penny fixates on her relationship issues with a self-absorbed musician.
The two misfits meet first when Penny has a rough night and then again when she belatedly delivers Dodge a lost letter—one that could alter Dodge’s future; it’s from his high-school sweetheart Olivia, the love of his life. When a riot breaks out around their apartment building, Dodge realizes that he must seek Olivia out before it’s too late while Penny makes the decision to spend her last days with family in England. Seizing the moment, Dodge promises to help Penny reach her family if she will provide transport for the two of them in her car immediately. She agrees, and they escape.
“Initially, Dodge doesn’t want to deal with what’s happening; he continues to go to his job. But then he decides to come to terms with his impending demise and with the end of the world,” Carell says. “He is going to make a pilgrimage, to visit his high-school sweetheart Olivia and try to reconnect with her. He’s always idealized her as the love of his life, and before it all ends, he wants to be with her. I think this, in a big way, is what our movie is about: people connecting with one another, or attempting to, when faced with something momentous. Your perspective changes.”
But although the subject matter wreaks of doom and gloom, when Carell is in the picture, comedy is sure to follow. “I haven’t done a lot of comedy so watching Steve Carell was amazing,” says Knightley. “Watching him and his timing and his physical comedy. It’s not your whacky sort of comedy because his character is dark and down it’s subtle and he’s wonderful at finding those sort of moments in the most tragic ones.”
“This is the flip side of Armageddon; there’s no president with a hot line to the astronauts who are going to blow up the asteroid,” says Carell. “Seeking a Friend for the End of the World is what’s happening while all of those things are going on; how ordinary human beings respond, and the choices they make when they know that everything is going to be over in a matter of days. What I think makes it very funny is the characters being put into a life-or-death situation so that they are stripped down to their essence – it’s really amusing when you see them trying to continue their lives under extraordinary circumstances.”
According to Knightley, if put in the same circumstances, she would like to hop in her car, drive and take with her, her favourite music. “Supertramp and Talking Head,” she says of albums she would save in the wake of tragedy. “Also, if in fact the world were ending, I would get on the road to North Devon.”
Steve Carell says that he would not take “albums because my car lacks a turntable. My family would go to Disney World, with a steady stream of Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez; what the kids are listening to these days.”
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World opens Friday, June 22.