The role of Frank, the suicidal Proust scholar, was originally written for Bill Murray, and there was also studio pressure for Robin Williams. The directing duo chose Steve Carell for the role a few months before filming began, and in an interview revealed: "When we met with Steve Carell, we didn't know he could do this based upon what he had done. But when we met with him and talked to him about the character, the tone of the movie and the way we were approaching it, he was right on the same page with us". Although known to Comedy Central viewers for many years as a correspondent on the highly rated satirical news program The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, at the time Carell was cast for Little Miss Sunshine, he was relatively unknown in Hollywood. Producers of the film were worried that he was not a big enough star and did not have much acting experience. However, between the time the film was shot and its release a year later, Carell became a success as the star of the high-grossing film The 40-Year-Old Virgin and the leading character of the NBC television series The Office.
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