Steve Carell on his roles in 'Welcome to Marwen', 'Beautiful Boy' and 'Vice'

Carell appears on "Popcorn With Peter Travers" and talks about his starring role in three new films now in theaters.
19:05 | 01/04/19

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Transcript for Steve Carell on his roles in 'Welcome to Marwen', 'Beautiful Boy' and 'Vice'
Hi everybody I'm Peter Travers this is popcorn we we tell you what's happened and at the movies and my guest today. Pete Correll was one room. That you go to so cheery. We keep it takes me. Be buried this is the bad everybody that's on the street and says in the office to the office and your trilogy films this year yes. Taken as to the depths not despair on so many levels that's my plan meets at split plan let me people on the street to. You just go. You know if they're excited as ceemea try to take into the depth of its best spit. That indeed beautiful boy bright basing movie things. Hold really despairing and so many ways but that at the end it it's a father helps his son now you know. And then advice and Donald Rumsfeld is one of the curious people we've ever had has secretary of defense yeah so you've done that and now. Welcome tomorrow in which is about a hate crime. Right it's happened so is there an anchorman. Three coming up. Probably not. But lately I think did you some some more comedies for sure it's not. Not these choices have been based on like. Like career like it like any sort of master plan. It's just it's kind of what we can all back Amman truly regret know and you don't always have a master at really. I really don't. I just sort of lucked out like this beautiful boy kill about beacon is. I got a call from the producers that you know the chance book was being me you're making them movie and they found this belt director. And so that's sort of just felt my lap but it wasn't anything I was pursuing. Percent and say that director's name. Fields growing again. Growing and yeah they'll that was nice he added that you have to kind of thicket where again it like you know year your pronouncing and Regis it's a commitment. But will you is typical with all of the people that made these movies with this you customarily are you. You know they get tough on you make fun of his name. Constantly hear and that lightened the mood too because it was very dark is looking. And that the sound that you are annoyed with them. What was I annoyed with him. I can't even pretend to say that I was annoyed with him he's such a mean I'm sure you've met him. He's the nicest guy you know what I love about him is that he is enjoying it he's really into lane. The moment he's not. Not so caught up in it that. He can't kind of understand where he is in this. Specific moment in his career and it's it's fun to watch at least twelve years old are you it's idiot idiots that's keys to owners all thought starting. In this but you a seasoned veteran. Should be able to show him the ropes as you can for any. I you know I didn't I'd. I need to teach me that I Hughes. And I'm not like that either honestly I'm not like watch you know watch and learn he's. He's got he's he's got to try to quit like that I guess it sounds like you may have worked with the who wouldn't like that black hole you know what you do clean stuff from people that you've worked with who you admire like working with Alan Arkin. He wasn't like a watch and learn how to guy but I did learn an awful lot from his son child watching him he's. I'm am just I was a big fan before it knew him and even more so now but yeah I mean I think you. You do pick up things from. So would you believe or would now look at in welcome tomorrow when you working with Roberts Matt yeah this is. Too big deal he. He isn't consumed the legendary nervous about working with people. I got nervous the first day working with Robert Zemeckis I for sure the striking everybody. Every you could feel it on the set you know he walked walked on hey everybody. And you could feel the admiration. And and just the respect. Emanating from everybody cast crew. It was palpable but once he starts. He's very self deprecating and it's these Justin existing guy he treats everybody the same so. That that. This quickly so you don't go fan boy on him and start asking questions about back to the future a little bit you know you kind of want to know what. We are he was what he was doing you know I would try to interspersed didn't try. Late at all on the first day yet there is a remarkable career you. Truly but this and I'm leaving it to you to set that up I saw this story. Marconi camp documentary written. Which was called welcome tomorrow when Cole while calling. That I won't say why you. Yeah but. If the true story that seems like it can't be true right and yet it is so sad that in the Steve Carell way I was compelled by it. Because. An and I just stumbled upon it years later it came out I think eight years ago. And I signed maybe three years ago I and I I really didn't know anything about it. Essentially the stories about this guy and he Marco in camp lives in this little town who is attacked and hate crime. Because he likes to Wear women's heels must Wear high heels and he. He's attacked and essentially left for dead. Doesn't have insurance. And in in order to. Rehabilitate. An order to heal. He creates this. 16. Crew scale miniature town in his backyard. And populates it with all of the people in this life and width and Alter ego himself. That he can tell these stories and sort of live vicariously through and and he takes pictures up so it's it's it's an art installation. And it's a way for him to process a lot of the pain that he coaster because uses he suffers. Posttraumatic stress severe brain injury he loses. His motor skills his ability to talk so it's long long road back. And I just thought his story was so. Imaginative. And and inspiring and he's. He's such a good guy got to meet him and no animal. And I took a lot of waste fraud and so when I found out that. Robert Zemeckis was looking to make a feature film about it I contacted him because that's really really tree. Well when you meet him because what we see is that his memory is gone. What was happening in the past right he was an illustrator yet who can't really draw and write more so he was starting to team pictures of that yes yeah but he added recreate what what are west. How does his memory work now as he lives his life. Into the press he's been getting more and more at the further along he's gotten the more keys were calling. He emailed me last week and said he started to illustrate again. Because he's getting wars motor skills back so if the long road. But clearly what he's been doing is helped him and the fact that he went through all of this and and suffered. Such a great deal but it loses human spirit was still. Kind and generous and not bitter I think is testament in terms of what to make this does with us. Is that he makes these puppets. Of why. Marquez shooting when we see them all hopeful life so here's a puppet via yeah. He had known all know they locked him away in a vault somewhere that. There have been in touch them only on camera was able to touch the but I think your cat and hold you right through you you looked cool. I did look really cool really doubt what the puppet is the Alter ego the you know yeah this figure. You know mark this character creates. Is very heroic Alter ego itself and through that Alter ego he's able to. Feel powerful. And and he's surrounded by really powerful women who were all three those qualities female friends and I have an. Yeah yeah and so there. You know there's a there's a lot to be said about female empowerment this movie to keep. The women in mark's life are by far the most important people and the people that he trusts the most. Bombed but yet these figures are are remarkable and the way that. Robert Zemeckis goes from the live action into this doll world. That start with dot dolls that you know you would you would see or play with. In his case you know turn into this these beautiful photographs. And Robert Zemeckis just in order to turn this into feature lets bring that all world life let's string together all of the near all the stories. Between marks pictures bomb is that something if he had the resources it's something that he would do himself. Did you have to do that motion capture would what was going now it's like now he's calling it enhanced. Advanced. Performance capture I think that's the that the term now. You know I I know you know the drill it's it's these jumpsuits and youth centers on the little things and things on your face and they actually. They they film your face on all of your expressions and then the process it through all of these computers and knee. Transpose it all want to this this doll figure so its it's essentially you which your performance. You know transposed on to this this GI Joseph tied. You largest Wendell enhance your play in the lot. Roles this yet in vice. With Adam McKay who was disputed that he's said. There was something in Rumsfeld that you found that even he couldn't we don't think of you immediately to lay down on wall I didn't either end and so I started doing some investigating and obviously you watch all taping your real things you can. And it's always it is always a guessing game try to figure out who that person might have been behind closed doors so that the best educated. Guess now Gerald research. But his public persona. Was. Kind of cheerful. Homespun and ingratiating. And but you do there is another side of him yet that was incredibly. Powerful and not to be mass. And I I thought that was an interesting thing to look into performance. To see the behind the scenes to see this. You know could you see him in in a more public aspect as well and that. That cheerful grain. Almost Cheshire cat quality. You haven't met him I now know nobody's getting to meet any but he they're buying and we're very secretive bunch so I'm not I I doubt. Yeah I I doubt that whatever happened I don't even know if any obscene Steve. The interesting thing about all of these people is that you all the three performance mentioned are real people. Yet they were you were all hail exists in the world that's the tough thing to play if you're doing it because Hugh. You've got to deal with the fact that there Rio yet and then find your own way into it right for sure there's. I know people said this to you before but there is an added responsibility when planes some real it's but it's yet. It actually somebody like mark for sure yeah and the fact I've gotten to know him become friends with you in adds that as well. Yeah it's. It's different in the sense that it's just not all left to your imagination there are part facts that you have to go by and and trying to understand the essence of who that person is just not. It it's not left so much up to use create. Whatever sort of characters you see. But at same time you've source material and which is helpful you know I could realize about Rumsfeld I could. Visit Marco being camp and and c.'s world and try to understand. Even a little bit what he'd gone through and how humans coping how we Hughes using this magical world. Because it's it's hitters in terms of it of a guy like that. Who is incidentally very self deprecating and can understand how people could see this is an audit. He he thinks it's kind of funny he knows that it seems kind of weird that his world this thing that is created he knows it seems a little weird. And and as you watch you know I watch the documentarian and with any luck people watching the film it does seem odd as you're approaching it. But once you get into the story and CE. How this is helping hand conceived. You know there the root of you know that the joyful listen hope is instilling it. It doesn't seem that odd anymore at least it did to me it feels. The label and it is relatable even the joy is relatable but so is the fear the fear of going door Cold War. Yet to do that yet he thinks hear you Steve. Zinni thinks hear me who apply if things you sneaks. I don't snakes haven't worked with anything yet have I work for this. I bet I have. I think I've I'm sure that I'll remember I well I did this. Movie called Evan almighty and I was around oh. Animal that's from their might have been some students involved there. Com. All I'm all almost attacked by. A monkey. On. Because I was trying to improvise with the monkey with a monkey who. Did one improvised heated no Weaver provides. And what's wrong with them. Boy that he was out of not a good part like a prop itself like hey man give me like we are supposed to be doing as a kid me that it. Josh scared them. Yeah he heeded not I thought oh that's right I'm not improvising with the human being as a wild animal. Who would. You know claw my eyes out if given hands with what got away with the equity. Well it's it was an act you sag after and if he had any way bigger trailer so. Well that's what puts it this though. There are no more mountain to climb you pretty much done everything simply arts and well this is the what lasting opt for me. Everybody even would you run if you are on as now. You dealt with all these people that want you to be Michael Scott they always say go back to the office as if the office was still on but you're just not right now but they need to be told it's not. It's not a hot hot. It is on you can watch it but it's not being made are you going to do a version of it is a movie definitely a good I want that lets that's where this is your school then I want that so they'll be a movie version but you won't you'll like kaczynski's art it's. Yet what that would be the best this is what I think we should deal I think the office should come back but we shouldn't do it as cheers. We just. It think that if they get different show put in the archives office can and I am you know I'm norm or somebody you know. In the world we live in. That isn't that bizarre al-Qaeda an after thought what is the pick up on that I think if that's what's happened it. I that all I care rally off of cancer when she got will be picked up as adds it going to answer I'd hear it perfect so I want you to do musical. OK because I think I heard. That invites. You have musical number with Christian being and and Kate cruelly. I guess it yeah just wasn't help illegal it was a believing what a chunk of big. Adam McKay could describe it a lot better than I could but it it continues with Rumsfeld showing Cheney the ropes. And were surrounded by Cole we don't actually singer incident but it was surrounded by all it was thing dance ever happening around welds and what we need to do now is song. A pact be and that song and you can have a song that's in your head I mean year Taylor Swift to shake it up. Was that went beyond viral dia so there's a responsibility always to not only matched that the top. I can't top that you do Carty be no. Don't want a little I just ice on the way and I thought oh what should sing a song and Asia I think it should be a Christmas song but I think you need to help me. I'll help you at any way to sort of a call and response yeah are you familiar with the song Rudolph the red nose or I am I know well as like point to you I'd like you to. I'm I think you'll know what to OK ready okay Rudolph the red nosed reindeer had a very shy don't know now you repeat reindeer. I'm and I come back amazing here say it's like calling are not out to ready. Wow well Ken this guy's heart. Rudolph equivalent nose reindeer reindeer. Had a very shiny nose knows. It's great and if you ever sonet. Close enough is so you bet you would even say it closed well. All of the there reindeer thing here I just eleven call him names. Being. And poor Rudolph join in any reindeer games then one foggy Christmas Eve Santa came to say now. Booed off with your nose so bright. Won't you. Guidelines laid to die out tag then all the reindeer loved him him. And it out and out with glee and about the red nosed reindeer. You'll go down the big list. In here is Hillary he that was just just awful yes yes and no wonder that number was cut from yet. And with Steve we wish. We wish you the now I go back to my iris and just a close up of that. That's going to be my Christmas.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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