Carell gets out of The Office (for good!) and hits the big screen this summer as Gru – who wants to be the world's greatest villain but instead becomes a doting dad to three orphan girls- in Despicable Me, arriving in theaters July 9.
What's the one thing that could make him a cooler dad than he is? Well, if he'd played a minion.
SheKnows: Your kids are six and nine, have they seen the film?
Steve Carell: They saw it a couple of weeks ago and loved it. Although my six-year-old son said, 'It was great, but why didn't you play a minion?' He thought they were so cool. I'm that close to being cool in my kids' eyes - if only I had been a minion.
SheKnows: How did you bring being a dad to the role of Gru?
Steve Carell: That's part of what interested me in the first place. It's the quintessential story of becoming a parent. It's someone who has their life structured the way they want it to be and then you introduce kids and everything changes. And you can't explain to someone who's about to have kids how it's going to change. I've tried but I've given up at this point because it's a different scenario for everybody. But the common thread is that it changes everything.
SheKnows: How does becoming a parent change things?
Steve Carell: It changes how you feel about yourself, your work and your life and how you view the world around you. And to watch a super villain go through that, I thought was really funny. When I first saw the movie I saw a rough version of it and I got all welled up at the end. When I went the second time with my kids, I said 'Nope, I'm not going to get teary-eyed this time' but I did again. It's because that character definitely goes through what a parent goes through. Finding the power of that connection with your kids is overwhelming and there's nothing else like it.
SheKnows: What's your favorite thing about the movie?
Steve Carell: It's a really simple story and yet it has a lot of action - that's what's fun about it, too. I think boys and girls will both like it. It has a lot of action and gadgets and contraptions which I think boys will tend to gravitate to.
SheKnows: If you could invent something like in the movie what would it be?
Steve Carell: A make my own dinner gun.
SheKnows: How would you describe yourself as a dad? Are you the funny man or the strict parent?
Steve Carell: I try to be a hybrid of those things. You're walking a fine line there because you want your kids to have the respect but you don't want to coddle them. And you don't want to be there buddy, but you do. You want to have that connection but you also want them to respect when you have to draw that line. But we also laugh a lot and as a family we are pretty silly. I think the trickiest thing that my wife and I try to do is present that united front because kids are very cagey. They'll ask one parent and then go around to the other and try to work the same thing on the other side. So it's a matter of having that communication with your spouse and knowing what the parameters are.
SheKnows: Do you see your sense of humor coming out in your kids?
Steve Carell: Absolutely. They understand irony at age six and nine, but in a really sweet way. They aren't jaded or weird they just have a good sense of themselves and they don't take themselves too seriously, which I like and I think is important.
SheKnows: Is there anything you do as a parent that you never thought you would ?
Steve Carell: Oh all the time. I here myself saying things like, 'I'm going to pull this car over' and that was such a benign threat from my parents. But I hear that and I'm like
'Really that's become me?' Just the same kind of phrases popping up all the time.
SheKnows: Do you find yourself being protective of your kids like Gru becomes in the movie?
Steve Carell: When Gru knows those kids are in jeopardy… I'm actually welling up thinking about it… because as a parent you would throw yourself under a bus for your kids and not even think about it and there wouldn't be a second of doubt or hesitation.
SheKnows: What kind of stories to you read to your kids? Do you do voices?
Steve Carell: We read to our kids every night and now my daughter reads to me. Generally, my wife puts my son to bed and I put my daughter to bed and we have stacks of books that we always cycle through. And my son, after he is read to and lights go out, he demands a story that involves a hamster. My wife has to tell him a hamster story every night, or sometimes I tell it, but we are running out of scenarios - hamster on the moon and there are very specific things he wants the hamster to accomplish. To me that's one of the greatest things about working here in town. I have done a couple of movies out of town, because to be home while they are little - you never get that time back. And I'm always trying to memorize those moments, too. The other night my daughter was at a sleepover and I walked by her door and she's not there and it kind of shakes your world. In not too many years, that will be the case.
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