Steve Carell on playing Donald Rumsfeld in ‘Vice’: He was tough 'behind closed doors’

Funnyman Steve Carell is taking on a very different role as former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld in the upcoming Dick Cheney biopic "Vice."

The former "Office" star talked to reporters during the movie premiere on Tuesday in Beverly Hills, Calif.

"[Rumsfeld's] public persona was very different than I think was [known by the public]," he said. "I saw him as that likable uncle that would give you a wry smile and a pat on the back, but from everything that I was able to gleam historically — he was a tough cookie behind closed doors.”

Sam Rockwell, from left, Amy Adams, writer/director Adam McKay, Christian Bale and Steve Carell arrive at the world premiere of "Vice" on Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2018, at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Sam Rockwell, from left, Amy Adams, writer/director Adam McKay, Christian Bale and Steve Carell arrive at the world premiere of "Vice" on Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2018, at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills, Calif. (AP)

The 56-year-old also spoke about his co-star Christian Bale putting on 80 pounds to play former vice president Dick Cheney.

"Ummm, in about three weeks. Yeah — oh, for sure," Carell said of how long it would take him to pack on the pounds.

He added that he would be willing to gain weight for "any role you’d like to hire me to do that for. I would probably enjoy it profusely."

The actor also spoke to us about looking ahead to 2019 and the Carell family's New Year's Eve traditions.

Nancy Carell, left, and Steve Carell arrive at the world premiere of "Vice" on Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2018, at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Nancy Carell, left, and Steve Carell arrive at the world premiere of "Vice" on Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2018, at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills, Calif. (AP)

“I tend not to do New Year’s resolutions," he admitted before elaborating on how he does celebrate the holiday.

“Usually, we watch TV," he said. "We watch the ball drop and then we all say, ‘Rabbit, rabbit.’ Rabbit, rabbit is something I’ve been saying for years. I don’t know where it came from – it’s just a superstition. You say it at the stroke of midnight – you have good luck for the year.”