Steve Carell On Playing The ‘Terrifying’ Donald Rumsfeld In ‘Vice’ And Why He Doesn’t Watch ‘The Office’

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In the last couple of months, Steve Carell has had three movies hit theaters. There was Beautiful Boy, the true-life story about drug addiction co-starring Timothée Chalamet. Then there’s the upcoming Robert Zemeckis film, Welcome to Marwen. But the most controversial will, no doubt, be his turn in Adam McKay’s Vice, playing, as Carell puts it, the both homespun-yet-terrifying Donald Rumsfeld.

Vice is both polarizing and very strange. At times it’s horrific, at times it’s absurd. Adam McKay’s take on Dick Cheney (played by Christian Bale) is a lot of things, but it’s certainly not conventional. This is, after all, a movie that features a fake ending and an entire scene done in Shakespearean dialogue.

Ahead, Carell takes us through what it’s like trying to get inside the head of the two-time Secretary of Defense (for both Presidents Ford and George W. Bush) and trying to find some semblance of humanity in him. Also, after co-starring with Amy Ryan in Beautiful Boy, Carell says it never once entered his mind people would make a connection to The Office. Then again, he doesn’t watch The Office and explains why.

When I told my editor I was talking to you today, he asked, “About which movie?” You’re very busy right now.

[Laughs] It’s weird. You know, over a year and a half, two years, you do three movies and then they all come out within a month. And then you don’t do anything for another four years.

Well, I’m assuming you’ll do something in the next four years.

We’ll see!

Your line as Donald Rumsfeld, “What a nervous Nellie!,” has stuck in my head ever since I saw this.

Yeah, I think, in a way, that encapsulates how I thought of Rumsfeld. There’s something so homespun about him, but at the same time terrifying.