WonderCon: Warner Brothers' Get Smart Panel
by Alex Billington
February 23, 2008
Another highlight from WonderCon this year was the panel and presentation for Warner Brothers' upcoming summer comedy Get Smart. Appearing live in San Francisco today were the director Pete Segal and stars Anne Hathaway and Steve Carell. Not only did they deliver one hell of a hilarious Q&A, but the new trailer that debuted for the audience looked fantastic and played to enormous applause and cheers. Not only is this going to be a huge summer hit, but Carell perfectly embodies a contemporary Agent Maxwell Smart.
A full length trailer debuted for Get Smart and it was full of endless hilarious scenes, including classic lines like "missed it by that much." I love the new Get Smart theme and watching the trailer gives me shivers because it's the perfect music for the comedy. It just hits at the right moments on top of Carell's hilarious lines and the over-the-top spy action. I can't explain it any better than you'll eventually see, so I'm not going to describe it. The full trailer will be out soon and you'll experience it in all of its wonderful glory soon enough.
During the Q&A, Carell was asked how he got into the character of Maxwell Smart in terms of playing it like Don Adams from the original TV show. His response was the typical, yet comforting, answer of, "I didn’t want to do an impersonation of him because he stands alone." Instead, he's bringing something new to the character, while not trying to directly mimic Adams, which is certainly a good thing. This isn't Carell redoing Adams, but it's Carell starting from scratch and making this new Agent 86 his own.
Anne Hathaway was in turned asked how it was working with Steve. Albeit a terrible question, her answer was quote comedic, starting off by jokingly saying "Steve's terrible" but truthfully calling him "one of the great comedic masters of our time." It's no doubt that Steve is one of the greatest comedians and he's certainly going to deliver one of the best roles of his life in Get Smart. Carell later returned the favor when asked about Anne, saying she is "just a goof ball" but that "a lot of people think of Get Smart and know it's funny and Anne was able to bring this other side that was riveting and I was amazed."
The film features a lot of improv, and Anne said that she was nervous about doing improv to begin with, but talked to Steve about it and he helped her through it. The dynamic between these cast members seems so incredible and it sounds like everyone involved, from Anne to Steve to The Rock, all play off of each other so well. Anne said her favorite scene was not necessarily anything funny, but was the last scene they shot in the movie at Red Square in Moscow, Russia, where some crew members had brought McDonalds for them and "it was just a beautiful moment." Heartwarming, definitely, but a funny memory, not so much, but that doesn't mean there is still plenty of comedy to be had.
Director Pete Segal commented not only on the challenges of remaking such a great TV show, but that he's excited to bring it to a new generation. "What a great TV show it was and we can't match what they did," but they put in as many catch phrases and captured the spirit and feel of the show as best they could. He hopes that it honors all of the fans and yet brings it to a new generation. Segal said it was "the most fun I've had making a movie" and explained that once Carell got involved from the start, everyone wanted to "come and play."
As a final kicker to build the excitement, each of the guests recalled the movies that made them want to get into filmmaking. Pete Segal: Young Frankenstein and Star Wars, Anne Hathaway: Naked Gun 33 1/3 and Auntie Mame, and Steve Carell: Dr. Strangelove. If that's not a good indication of the comdic spirit that is going into Get Smart, then nothing I will say will show you how great this will be besides seeing the trailer. Be ready for one hell of an exciting comedy this summer on June 20th! And we'll get the full trailer to you as soon as possible, because once you've watched it you'll understand how excited we are, too.