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The Truth About Steve Carell's 40-Year-Old Virgin Waxing Scene

A great movie script will contain a ton of exciting, thrilling, funny, and heartfelt scenes, but sometimes, the very best elements are completely organic and improvised on the spot. From famous stories like Harrison Ford's improvised retort on the set of The Empire Strikes Back to Jack Nicholson ad-libbing "Here's Johnny!" during The Shining, spontaneous improvisation has brought about some of the most iconic moments in movie history.

Far more than dramas, comedies obviously seem rife for improvisation. You may not know that one of your favorites features an entire scene drawn from a very real, harrowing experience — and features plenty of improvised lines to boot. If you're a fan of Steve Carell's breakout 2005 comedy The 40-Year-Old Virgin, directed by Judd Apatow, you're definitely familiar with the scene where Carell's Andy gets his extremely hairy chest waxed. What you might not know is that the entire sequence is about as authentic as it gets. Here's the ultimate truth about Steve Carell's 40-Year-Old Virgin waxing scene.

Steve Carell went to extremes for his big waxing scene

Since it would have been pretty impossible to approximate the look or feel of someone getting their chest waxed, Carell knew he'd have to actually get his chest waxed on camera. Not only did this mean that Apatow and his crew only had one chance to capture this scene on film, it also meant Carell would have to go through an incredibly painful experience.

However, according to ScreenRant, the experience was even more harrowing than it had to be. Apparently, the actress who played Andy's waxer, Miki Mia, lied to the casting department and said that she had experience waxing, but didn't. As a result, she skipped the crucial step of applying a protective layer of Vaseline to Carell's nipples that would prevent injury. After a few strips were removed and Carell shed real blood — which can be clearly seen in the movie — a crew member thankfully stepped in before their star suffered a worse injury.

Mia's haphazard waxing techniques aside, the rest of the scene is rife with safe improvisations, including hilarious reactions from Andy's friends, played by Paul Rudd, Seth Rogen, and Romany Malco. In fact, they all contributed to the moment; as it turns out, Rogen is the one who came up with the idea for one of Andy's exclamations, suggesting that Carell scream "Kelly Clarkson!" as one of the strips was ripped off. Years later, Carell even mocked that famous moment on Clarkson's talk show.

If you want to relive Carell's famous waxing scene — though we imagine Carell probably never wants to think about it again — The-40-Year-Old Virgin is available to rent or buy on major streaming platforms.