Steve Carell talks Minions and Gru | The Fan Carpet Ltd • The Fan Carpet: The RED Carpet for FANS • The Fan Carpet: Fansites Network • The Fan Carpet: Slate • The Fan Carpet: Theatre Spotlight • The Fan Carpet: Arena • The Fan Carpet: International

Steve Carell talks Minions and Gru

Despicable Me
16 February 2011

American comedian, actor, voice artist, producer, writer, and director. Carell became famous for his roles in the television series The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Office. He has also starred in several Hollywood films including Anchorman, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Little Miss Sunshine, Evan Almighty, Dan in Real Life, Get Smart, Date Night and Dinner for Schmucks; and voiced characters in the animated films Over the Hedge, Horton Hears a Who!, and Despicable Me. Carell was nominated as “America’s funniest man” in Life magazine. He received the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Television Comedy Series for his lead role of Michael Scott for the American television series The Office during 2006.

Here he talks about the future of The Office and his character of Gru in Despicable Me which arrives on DVD, Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D on February 21.


Is it true you named the minions?

They would just have me say different names. I’m sure I said fifty different names and eventually they picked the ones they used in the movie. (Imitating the voice of Gru) Don, Jay, Fred…

How did you approach the emotional development of the character?

I wanted to portray him without it being overly sentimental at the end. I wanted it to be earned. When you see him evolve into what he is at the end, those moments can be really fun, exciting and moving only if you care about the character through the movie. You can’t just tack on the emotion at the end and expect people to respond to it. With any luck that character has earned that moment of sentiment.

You are working so much these days. Is it sometimes a case of taking the opportunities while they are there?

To a certain extent because I also acknowledge that it won’t be like this forever. I don’t anticipate being on an endless good run. It’s definitely a case of taking advantage of the opportunities I am getting right now. To turn away from it now would be sort of odd, after working for so long to achieve what is going on. Striking while the iron is hot is probably advisable but at a certain point I will probably step back, do more writing and spend more time with my wife and kids.

Is it a conflict for you – work taking time from the family?

It’s been good for me, because The Office is a regular schedule and the movies I have done in the last few years have all shot in California so it’s been fairly normal. I will generally see my kids before they go to school and I will be home for dinner and get them to bed. Some nights I might be a little later than that and some days I might be earlier than that but generally speaking I am there with them every day which is good.

I guess everyone assumes that if you are a comedian you will be the best dad because you will play with them in character. Is it really like that or is it very different at home?

It is fun and my wife is really funny. My kids have a great sense of humour. We are all silly together. I think there should be a lot of play and they need to be having fun. I think I’m a pretty silly dad but I am also dad. There is that fine line between silly goofy dad and someone that looses the respect of their children. You never want to cross over into that. It’s also a matter of I’m the dad and I’m setting the rules. You have to create that level of respect.

Did they see the film? What did they think?

They loved it. My son actually told me that he wished I was a minion after seeing it because he thought they were so great. Kids don’t go into the details on why they liked something, they just like it or they don’t. Its kind of an on or off switch and they really liked it. We had a screening with my son’s kindergarten class and they had the minions out front. It was fun. I guarantee you every kid is going to want one of those minions, they are adorable.

There is a lot of animation out there now. How does a film like this distinguish itself?

It’s hard. Toy Story and Shrek were great. There is also a lot of big animation and big franchises out there, so to carve out a slot is challenging. I think this one stands out because it looks different. I like the animation in this and I like the story.

You are in so many movies and a television show. Do you worry about overexposure?

You don’t want to overstay your welcome and you don’t want people to get sick of you. But it’s not like I did all these movies two weeks apart. They were years apart – Despicable Me has been over the last three years.

Will there be an end to The Office?

This year will be my last but I’m sure the show will continue. I felt it was time for me to move ahead. It could be a good thing for the show – to shift around the dynamic. I think it will go as long as they want it to go. It’s doing very well ratings wise and its NBC’s number one scripted show. After six years, that’s pretty good.

Then what are you plans?

I might do some writing. I haven’t had much of a chance since I did The 40-Year-Old Virgin.

Most people would probably assume you have done stand up but that is not the case is it?

I don’t think of myself as a comedian. I don’t think I’m that naturally funny guy who can entertain a group of people – it’s just not really my forte. I approach it mostly in terms of acting – if the character ends up being funny it’s a result of the script and the situation.  Standup is like another world entirely. I don’t think I would be good at it.

So you didn’t ever intend to be the funny? Your ambition was to act?

I was not going into comedy I was going to be an actor. That was the idea. I went to Chicago to be an actor and it just so happened I got hired to do more comedies than anything else.

But they must have seen that quality in you?

I guess and there was also a bigger market for it in Chicago. There was a big improv comedy scene with Second City. Most of the commercials you would audition for were comedic based so it soon became evident that even from a financial aspect the best bet was to pursue more comedy.

Did you ever expect to be a leading man in film?

When Judd Apatow and I wrote The 40-Year-Old Virgin we had no idea what would become of it and whether people would even respond to it. Then they did and people started thinking of it as a genre, as the raunchy every man comedy with a heart.  But we never expected that to happen, we were just writing something we thought was funny.

So do you feel there is a new comedic genre for leading men?

I’m not sure that is a new phenomenon because when you look at people like Jack Lemmon, Steve Martin or Robin Williams, or performers going back to Charlie Chaplin, very few of them are typically leading man types. When people say it’s a new era of comedic leading men I think comedic leading men have always been a little off kilter, a little off skew.



Steve Carell Photos | Despicable Me Film Page

Despicable Me is released on DVD and Blu-ray 3D 21st February 2011