Actor Steve Carell felt an unlikely connection to his most recent character Gru – an animated super-villain who “delights in all things wicked.” The Despicable Me star admits that Gru’s journey into fatherhood struck a strong chord with him.
“It’s the quintessential becoming a parent. That to me is really the story. It’s someone who has their life structured the way they want it to be – or they think they want it to be – and then you introduce kids and everything changes,” says Steve, who has kids Annie, 9, and Johnny, 6, with his wife Nancy. “You can’t explain to someone who’s about to have kids how it’s going to change. You just can’t. It changes everything about how you feel about yourself and your work and your life, and how you view the world around you…. That character is going through what a parent goes through, and finding the power of that connection with your kids is overwhelming. And to me there’s nothing else like it.”
As for his own approach to fatherhood, the hilarious star of The Office says he tries to strike a balance at home between being a funny dad and a disciplinarian.
“I try to be a hybrid of those things. You’re walking a fine line there. You want your kids to have that respect, and you don’t want to coddle them – it’s like you don’t want to be their buddy but you do. It’s like you want to have that connection but you also want them to respect when you need to draw that line. I just think kids need a sense of structure. Ultimately it helps them and makes them feel more secure. But we also laugh a lot. We’re pretty silly.”
Despicable Me opens in theaters on July 9.