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Steve Carell was in real pain for iconic 40-Year Old Virgin scene

Paul Rudd has been discussing his career, which includes some of the best comedy movies of the 2000s, and he breaks down that iconic Steve Carell waxing scene.

40-Year-Old Virgin

Sexiest man alive Paul Rudd has been breaking down his iconic characters for GQ, which of course includes some of the best comedy movies of the golden era for that genre – the 2000s. He discusses Wet Hot American Summer (2001), Anchorman (2004), Knocked Up (2007), Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008), and I Love You Man (2009). But maybe the funniest of all was 2005’s The 40-Year-Old Virgin – which features an iconic scene where Steve Carrell gets his chest waxed.

Rudd discusses the improvisation that Judd Apatow encouraged when working with the ensemble of actors (including Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, and Apatow’s wife Leslie Mann) that he regularly reused in his movies. “Having now worked with Judd a few times, we’d spend a lot of time adding things to the script, filming improvisations that would eventually make their way into the script. When it came time to actually film, sometimes we would take it upon ourselves to start improvising.”

“They become these kind of collaborative jam sessions, really. And when something really cooks, when it’s working, you can tell. It’s thrilling because nobody, including us, knows exactly what we’re going to say or where it’s going to go.”

Rudd discusses filming the famous chest-waxing scene, in which Carrell was waxed for real, making it more like a torture scene from a horror movie like Saw. “When Steve was getting waxed in that scene, he really was. The girl who actually did it said that her family owned a salon, and that she did this [waxing], but I don’t think that was true. I don’t think she’d ever done it. It’s like when an actor says they can ride a horse, ‘I can totally wax a chest.’ We were playing into it obviously – but you could tell it was painful.”

“We set up, like, five cameras, because once you did it, we weren’t going to go back and do it again. Steve’s hilarious and he knew how to scream and make it funny and you’re coming up with jokes on the fly too. The pattern in which he was waxed – he did look like a pumpkin. ‘You look like a man-o-lantern.’ If it works, it works, and if it doesn’t, it doesn’t.”

Check out our guide to the best 2000s movies.