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Steve Carell Loves Birds. Really.

Actor Steve Carell yells a line from one of his movies onstage during MTV's "Total Request Live" June 18, 2007 in New York. Carell stars in "Evan Almighty."
AP Photo
Since his breakout role in "The 40-Year-Old Virgin," Steve Carell has appeared in the Oscar-nominated "Little Miss Sunshine," and his television sitcom "The Office" has walked off with an Emmy for Best Comedy Series. Now, he's back in theaters starring in "Evan Almighty" with Morgan Freeman and a bunch of birds.

The follow-up to the hit comedy "Bruce Almighty" opens this weekend.

In "Evan Almighty," Carell reprises his "Bruce Almighty" role of anchorman Evan Baxter. The story starts as Evan leaves the newsroom after getting elected to Congress with a campaign promise to "change the world."

He unexpectedly gets his wish when God (played again by Morgan Freeman) commands him to build an ark. Evan throws himself into his role as a modern Noah, but finds it tough to explain his actions to his wife (Lauren Graham), kids, neighbors, media and co-workers.

"Eventually he sort of spirals down and is forced into making a decision to perform this leap of faith and go for it," explains Carell.

"Bruce Almighty" director Tom Shadyac returns at the helm, though Carrey is nowhere to be found in this film - making it less a sequel than a follow up.

Recently in Los Angeles, Carell told AP Entertainment that the new film has a deeper, more spiritual sensibility than its predecessor.

"Going in, you want to make something that is entertaining," says Carell, "you want to make something that's funny and that people can enjoy, but one of Tom Shadyac's original intents was to make a movie with another layer of meaning, another sense of integrity to it, and I think he did."

It's still a comedy, nevertheless, with much of the humor coming from Carell's interaction with the animals, many of whom treated the star of the movie as a "litter box," he says.

"The days that I spent with the birds on top of me were not my favorite days," he says. "I don't know how you feel about birds; I have nothing against birds or bird lovers, but any time an animal uses you as a litter box, it is difficult to feel good about said animal."

"Evan Almighty" is Carell's first major feature since the Oscar-nominated "Little Miss Sunshine," and his first big live-action comedy since blockbuster "The 40-Year-Old Virgin."

Carell also stars in an award-winning television series, the American adaptation of the British classic "The Office."

Just three years ago, Carell was best known as a correspondent on the comedy-news series, "The Daily Show." Now, he jokes, the limousines are so long they're already at their destination before he gets in.

"The limos went from 30 feet, [and now] I have an 80-foot limo that picks me up. Actually, the front of the limo is at the destination when it picks me up. All I need to do it get into the car and it just pulls up a little bit more and we are there. That is how big the limo is."