Disney’s “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” follows the exploits of 11-year-old Alexander (Ed Oxenbould) as he experiences the most terrible and horrible day of his young life – a day that begins with gum stuck in his hair, followed by one calamity after another. But when Alexander tells his upbeat family about the misadventures of his disastrous day, he finds little sympathy and begins to wonder if bad things only happen to him. He soon learns he is not alone when his mom (Jennifer Garner), dad (Steve Carell), brother (Dylan Minnette), and sister (Kerris Dorsey) all find themselves living through their own terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. Anyone who says there is no such thing as a bad day just hasn’t had one.
Sometimes I watch an actor or actress on screen and I can’t help but wonder what they would be like in real life. As I sat watcing Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day I couldn’t help but wonder what it would be like to sit down and chat with Steve Carell and Jennifer Garner. Thanks to a little Disney Magic, I didn’t have long to ponder. In short, they were everything they seemed – funny, down to earth, and genuine are just a few of the adjectives that come to mind. The affectionate camaraderie the two shared was evident from the very beginning.
Q: So, how did you both get involved with the project?
Steve Carell: I was asked to be in it and I said yes. I liked the script, I thought it was funny, inventive, and different. I feel like I hadn’t really seen this kind of family movie in a while. The fact that Jen was going to do it was a huge draw for me, because I’d been a huge fan of hers for a long time. It’s true. We met a few times over the years, but just sort of in passing, and you know when someone not only lives up to, but exceeds expectations, of everything you’ve heard about them? That was her.
Jennifer Garner: Steve Carell!
Steve Carell: She’s the nicest person ever.
Jennifer Garner: Well, he’s fibbing a little bit, because he was actually on this movie first, so I was the one who knew he was doing it and said “Oh yeah, I’ve been dying to work with him forever.” We had a really good time.
But the whole cast had really great chemistry. One question in particular highlighted their relationship.
Q: What was your favorite scene to film?
Jennifer Garner: I liked when we were all together.
Steve Carell: That’s what I was gonna say. Like, any — well, we were all together for most of the movie.
Jennifer Garner: A lot. Dancing at the end. It’s just, all of the fun stuff. There was a day between scenes where they were setting up the cameras, and it’s the kind of thing where you would typically go back to your trailers, and do whatever you needed to do.
Instead, they just put us in a little room in the house and we all had our phones with us. We sat with those kids and nobody ever looked at their phones. We just talked. You wouldn’t think that you would have that much to talk about with teenagers because it seems like they’re from another planet. But these are the coolest group of the smartest, most interesting, engaging kids.
The five of us just hung out together and had the best time. That, to me, is kind of the crux of this whole movie, was just that feeling in that room, and that nobody came in and bugged us. Nobody else was there. It was just us as a group. It was something that we chose to do.
Steve Carell: On my last day, Dylan, Kerris and Ed did a song for me that they had written and I broke down. It really crept on me, the emotion of it all, and the feelings that we all had, just over a cop ule of months for one another.
And of course he had to know what it was like working with Dick Van Dyke.
Q: So, how was it, working with Dick van Dyke?
Jennifer Garner: So exciting! I mean, Mary Poppins at my house, is like, one of the top three films of all happiness. So, the fact that I was there with him, AND I got him to do “Chim Chim Cheree” with me between takes was all so great. He was just funny and warm and lovely. He really accepts his role as being somebody that we’ve all grown up with and an icon in entertainment, with such grace. It was really a great day.
And last but not least, how did they ever keep a straight face?
Q: You created such a fun movie. How many takes did you go through without laughing? How hard was that?
Jennifer Garner: There are definitely scenes in the movie that, I don’t know how they cut around me. There were times where I just couldn’t be professional. I could not, not laugh with him. I defy you to be in a scene with him and not laugh.
Steve Carell: Well, the same from my perspective. The scene where she’s screaming at the car in front of us. I mean, that’s a side of her I had never seen before, and it was crushing me. It was so, so good.
Jennifer Garner: The scene where we were in the car, making the weird sound, and I look at him and he’s going, “Arararara!”I can’t even think about it.I can’t watch it.
Steve Carell: But that, I think, was part of the joy of doing it. And the kids laughed too. It was work, and we tried to get it right, and we tried to do it well, but it also had to be fun. And buoyant.What’s the point of doing anything unless you’re enjoying it, and I think everyone really had a good time.
Check out Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day in theaters October 10th.
Thank you Disney for covering my travel expenses during this press trip. Photo Credits to Disney.