'The 40-Year-Old Virgin' was almost shut down after one week of shooting because the studio thought Steve Carell looked 'like a serial killer'

Steve Carell Honored with Star in Hollywood
Steve Carell Honored with Star in Hollywood

In Hollywood lore, there are plenty of stories of beloved movies that were so close to not happening at all.

You can add Judd Apatow and Steve Carell's breakout comedy "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" to that list.

While on "Conan" Tuesday night, Carell described the moment that nearly derailed the 2005 film completely. According to the actor, the studio Universal arrived on set with the mission of pulling the plug on the movie.

PHOTOS: Movie stills from "The 40-Year-Old Virgin"

After just one week of shooting, Judd Apatow told the cast and crew, "Universal wants to talk to us. They're shutting us down," according to Carell.

So Carell and everyone else on set heard what the studio had to say.

"They said, 'We've been watching footage, and you look like a serial killer,'" the actor, most recently in "The Big Short," revealed to laughs. "We hadn't shot any dialogue. It was me riding my bike with a weird helmet, and it was me walking down the street and seeing suggestive posters and going eghh. And just that week compiled, they went, 'No, no, no, this is not a comedy.'

"I was so bummed out," Carell continued. "I thought, that's it. That was the big shot, and it wasn't going to work out. And then thankfully we started up on Monday and finished shooting."

Carell surely isn't the only one thankful for the second chance. Carell went on to a huge career in comedy and now Oscar-nominated work in drama, while Apatow is one of the biggest producers, writers, and directors in Hollywood.

Watch Carell on "Conan" telling the story below:

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