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The Hilarious Reason Universal Tried To Shut Down The 40-Year-Old Virgin

The 40-Year-Old Virgin has already become one of those modern comedy classics that people refer to when talking about movies that give them the giggles every time they see it. What most of us don’t know about the film, though, is that it almost didn’t happen. Universal, the studio behind the film, was intent on shutting production down right after shooting began. And, they had a legitimate, but totally hilarious reason for doing so, according to the film’s star, Steve Carell.

We’d only been shooting for five days, and they said, "We’ve been watching footage, and you look like a serial killer."

Steve Carell relayed the story to Conan O’Brien on his TBS show recently, and the clip showed up on the the Team Coco YouTube page. Carell goes on to note that it was so early in the shoot that they hadn’t even gotten around to filming dialogue yet. The only scenes that had been filmed were the ones where he rides his bike with his funny little helmet on, and walks down the street being icked out by suggestive posters.

Well, as you can imagine, this was a serious blow for Steve Carell’s confidence. I’m pretty sure anyone who’s basically been told that they have a bad case of serial killer face is going to get down on themselves sooner rather than later. Plus, this was Carell’s first starring role. After being told the studio didn’t like his look, he reasonably thought that his chance at stardom and other leading roles was done for.

Luckily for him, and audiences worldwide, someone was able to convince the bigwigs at Universal to give Steve Carell, and the film, a real shot before they pulled the plug. The company’s representatives took the weekend to think about it, and by Monday the cast and crew were back to shooting the movie.

Before The 40-Year-Old Virgin came along in August of 2005, Steve Carell had made appearance in a lot of, now mostly forgotten, TV shows. His parts in the films Bruce Almighty in 2003 and Anchorman in 2004, helped give audiences a good glimpse of what he was capable of committing to in comedic roles, but his starring role in The 40-Year-Old Virgin is the thing that launched him into leading parts. And while the first season of The Office had already aired by the time the movie came out, the show might not have gone on to such long term success had people not had a chance to see him on the big screen in a major role. You can take a look at the whole Conan clip with Steve Carell below.

Now, go and rejoice in the fact that he did, indeed, get a chance to complete his star making turn in The 40-Year-Old Virgin.

Adrienne Jones
Senior Content Creator

Yennefer's apprentice, Gilmore Girl; will Vulcan nerve pinch pretty much anyone if prompted with cheese...Yes, even Jamie Fraser.