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Steve Carell has had a versatile career with a long list of both comedic and dramatic roles. Still, his most famous role might be Michael Scott from The Office.

Michael Scott is a terrible manager. He’s oftentimes socially unaware, and is known for putting his foot in his mouth. Even so, he’s still considered one of the most beloved television characters in the last decade.

Steve Carell | Paras Griffin/Getty Images

In an interview Carell did with Esquire in 2018, he spoke about creating the character of Michael Scott.

“I know people like that who really, through no fault of their own, can be off-putting, but at the same time I know them to be good people. That’s what we were going for with Michael. I just thought, ‘He’s a pretty complicated guy—a lot of different facets to him.‘”

Steve Carell strives to make all of his characters real people

To Carell, whether he’s playing a comedic or dramatic role, finding the humanity in the person is of the utmost importance.

“Whether a character’s super-broad or incredibly internalized, the most important thing to me is that some sort of honesty registers, that you can tell that these are human beings. That is my goal: to depict someone that falls within the realm of human being,” he laughed.

“You know, you do your research. You think about backstory. Even the silliest characters or the darkest characters or even the most insidious characters, there’s lots of different components to them that you don’t necessarily have to say out loud or have register in a movie, but they should be present somewhere,” Carell continued.

The actor brought up Peter Sellers as someone who fills even his most bumbling characters with humanity.

“Clouseau was a real person. He was absurd, he was silly, but he was going through something. To me, that character was all about a man retaining his dignity, and that felt very honest and truthful to me. Hence all the stuff he did was that much funnier because you felt like you were watching an actual human being going through human emotions,” said Carell.

Would Steve Carell ever play Donald Trump?


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Michael Scott had a copy of Donald Trump’s Think Like a Billionaire: Everything You Need to Know About Success, Real Estate, and Life on his desk for several seasons of The Office. Would Carell ever portray the president?

“You hope you can find the humanity in anybody that you play,” he said after a moment of thought, reports Esquire. “If I couldn’t, then I wouldn’t play that part. If you go into a part with complete disdain and find no nugget of humanity in a person—I just wouldn’t do it.”