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GET SMART

About The Production
It's Agent Maxwell Smart's first day on the job and the fate of the free world has never been in more capable hands. "Would you believe?...”

Director Peter Segal approached "Get Smart” as both a filmmaker and a fan. "This was an iconic show from the 1960s, a true classic and one of my favorites,” he says. "I loved it. It was smart, irreverent and hilarious.”

Says producer Charles Roven, "We didn't want to recreate it but to contemporize it— to make it work for our time with a modern perspective and action sequences that aren't only there to punctuate the laughs but are worthy of any thriller. We wanted to bring this world of super-spies into a new era with the scale and scope it truly deserves on the big screen.”

Segal discovered that just imagining the familiar characters and some brand new ones in today's headline-worthy situations sparked a thousand ideas and jokes, inspired by the same savvy humor that made the series—the brainchild of comedy mavericks Mel Brooks and Buck Henry—so memorable.

"Our goal was to embrace the spirit of what Mel and Buck created and bring it to a new generation. The movie pays homage to the touchstones of the series; its irreverence, political satire and some of the catchphrases that are now part of our culture,” says Segal, "but with a fresh story, a 2008 point of view and a style and energy all its own. The idea was to make a movie that offers as much to new viewers as longtime fans and, bottom line, to just make it funny as hell so it doesn't matter if you know the history or not.”

Producer Alex Gartner credits Segal with "the ability to blend smart comedy [pun intended] with serious action, neither of which is easy and certainly not easily meshed, but it's something at which Peter excels and why we wanted him to direct. There's a lot of physical humor here, but played against a realistic backdrop.”

Steve Carell, who stars as Maxwell Smart and also serves as an executive producer, sums it up this way: "I'd say it's 80% comedy, 20% action, 15% heart, 35% romance, 10% adventure and probably less than 1% horror. Put that all together and you have more than 100%, which is more, really, than you can expect from any movie.”

Not surprisingly, notes producer Andrew Lazar, "Steve Carell as Max was the most important part of the puzzle in putting this project together. His involvement triggered everything and his ideas about how to play the character informed the entire piece.”

"What first attracted me to the project was Steve,” acknowledges Segal, who committed on the strength of Carell's casting even before seeing a script. "In my mind, there was no one else who could do justice to this role, and if you don't have the right Max it's not worth doing.”

"We were able to tailor the script to Steve's immense comedic talent, which gave us free range to take it to places other people might not be able to go,” offers producer Michael Ewing. "Together with screenwriters Tom Astle and Matt Ember, Peter and Steve worked on developing the character, as well as some of the plot points.” Bringing with him a wealth of improv experience honed during his days with the famed Second City, Carell often brainstormed with the filmmakers and his fellow actors to come up with alternate jokes and angles on a scene.

To give the property its 21st-century launch, Segal and the producers decided first to take "Get Smart” back a step. Citing another of Roven's recent producing efforts, the 2005 hit "Batman Begins,” Segal explains, "I liked the way that film reinvented the Batman franchise by telling an origin story in a way that hadn't been previously explored. With that in mind, we start from the beginning and show how Maxwell Smart came to be an agent, how he met 99, and his first encounter with KAOS villain Siegfried—all those elements already in<

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