The 10 Best Steve Carell Roles That Aren’t Michael Scott

After playing over-the-top characters in “Bruce Almighty,” “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy,” and “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” Carell switched gears to star in a low-key comedy that has become a beloved entry on his resume.

Released in 2005, “Little Miss Sunshine” is an introspective road-trip comedy from husband and wife directing duo Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris. The film cast Carell as Frank, a recently unemployed teacher struggling with depression. After a recent suicide attempt, he temporarily moves in with his sister Sheryl (Toni Collette). Soon he joins her family on an impromptu van trip to the little-miss beauty pageant that the family’s youngest daughter, Olive (Abigail Breslin), wants to enter.

The journey is emotionally trying and restorative, making the disjointed family appreciate how much they need each other. For Carell, playing an introvert like Frank allowed him to showcase a more grounded and contemplative side of his on-screen personality. Watching him struggle with the rejection and fall-out from a recent break-up — and the mental health turmoil it causes — provides much of the movie’s psychological depth. Performance-wise, it’s a refreshing change of pace. After this showcase, he’d explore further dramatic and complex roles later in his career.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ by dialing 988 or by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

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