Paul Rudd Reveals What It Was Really Like To Be In The Room When Steve Carell Submitted To 40-Year-Old Virgin's Infamous Waxing Scene

Long before he was Ant-Man, Paul Rudd starred in multiple comedy classics – one being the Steve Carrell-led The 40-Year-Old Virgin. The actor has multiple memorable moments as the self-destructive slacker David in the Judd Apatow movie, and one of them is the infamous waxing scene with Carell, Seth Rogen, and Romany Malco. Almost two decades after the film hit theaters, the Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania star has revealed what it was really to be in the room when his co-star submitted his body for real punishment.

Filming the scene was about more than the screaming of, “Kelly Clarkson!”, according to the Clueless alum. In an interview with GQ, Paul Rudd says that the scene was a one-and-done as Carrell was getting waxed in real life. The Minions: The Rise of Gru star’s commitment to the moment set the tone for his co-stars. Rudd explained that everyone’s reactions in the scene were genuine as they watched Carrell get his chest hair ripped off. Said the actor,

We were playing into it obviously. I dunno if that’s true that Romany really did get queasy and wanted to leave, but I mean it really was — you could tell it was painful. We set up five cameras, cause once, you know, you did it, you weren’t going to be able to go back and do it again. Steve’s hilarious. He knew how to scream and make it funny and you’re coming up with jokes on the fly, too. I mean, I think just the pattern in which he was waxed, it’s like he did look like a pumpkin. So then, it’s like, ‘You look like a man-o-lantern.’

We can be thankful that the torturous waxing scene gave Paul Rudd the chance to say "man-o-lantern." The MCU star was just reacting to Carrell’s quotes and outrageous scream, as all the reactions just fed off the energy the film’s leading man was giving. He was able to still be funny while having hot wax applied to and ripped off his chest.

Filming The 40-Year-Old Virgin allowed the stars to improvise and make suggestions before and during production. As Steve Carrell was waxed in the scene, the waxing technician apparently wasn’t just an actress but had experience doing the treatment – but Rudd suspects the woman had no experience in the profession as they filmed the painful moment:

When Steve was getting waxed in that scene, he really was. The girl who actually did it said that her family owned a salon and she did this. I don’t think that was true. I don’t think she’d ever done it. Like one of those things where it’s like an actor, hire an actor, and it’s like, ‘Can you ride a horse?’ ‘I can ride a horse.’ ‘Can you wax a chest?’ ‘I can totally wax a chest.’

Many actors have exaggerated specific skills or just outright lied, so its understandable that the former Sexiest Man Alive is suspicious of the technician's credentials.

If you can bear it, you can rewatch the scene by streaming The 40-Year-Old Virgin through a Hulu subscription or a Peacock subscription. And if you just want to watch more Paul Rudd, moviegoers can catch Scott Lang battle Kang The Conqueror in Ant Man and the Wasp: Quantumania when it arrives in theaters this Friday, February 17. After the Phase 5 opener, check out what other new Marvel movies are coming up.

Adreon Patterson
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A boy from Greenwood, South Carolina. CinemaBlend Contributor. An animation enthusiast (anime, US and international films, television). Freelance writer, designer and artist. Lover of music (US and international).