Steve Carell in Real Life Vs. Dan in Real Life
- Monday, October 22, 2007
Despite the hype, some stars really are just like us. Ask Steve Carell.
“I was not a good dater,” he said, during a recent interview for his new film, Dan in Real Life. “I literally don’t remember ever asking a girl out on a date. It was always someone I had been working with or had become friends with … I was always far too shy and insecure.”
That’s what happened with Carell’s wife of 12 years—actress Nancy Walls. The actor insists that he stumbled into a relationship, after being friends and colleagues with Nancy for years.
“It was so stupid and so sloppy, frankly,” Carell said. “It was not neat or cool, but romantic in its own right. It was just two people who gravitated to one another.”
This may explain why the Golden Globe winning comedian is so good at playing vulnerable, insecure men. Much like his character in the 2005 hit, Forty Year Old Virgin—and far removed from the braggadocio he plays on The Office—Carell stars as Dan, a widow with three teenage girls who inadvertently falls in love with his brother’s new girlfriend (Juliette Binoche).
Carell took the time to explain what it was like to work with the Oscar-winning French actress—and how playing a father to three teenage girls gave him a frightening glimpse of the future. Here’s what he had to say:
So tell us about your family. You have a daughter, right?
Two kids, 3 and 6. The oldest is a girl.
Did making the film give you pause about what it’s going to be like in a few years?
I have taken a look into the future and it’s a scary place. I know my daughter is going to be h--- on wheels when she’s 15. So yeah, I’m bracing myself. And I don’t want to be an overly protective dad. I think the reason people are is that you’re concerned that your kids will get hurt. When they’re little, you’re concerned that they’ll get hurt physically, more than anything. When they’re older, you’re concerned that they’re going to get hurt emotionally. And at some point, you have to give up that protectiveness and let them get hurt and let them make mistakes. That’s the hardest thing to do. That, and the fact that all of my stubbornness, all of my eccentricities, will be reflected in them.
Do you see that already?
Yes. My daughter has a very cynical sense of humor already and she’s six. She understands irony, which kind of freaks my wife and I out. But it’s not in like a rude way. It’s not like she’s being sassy.
Can you give an example?
Well, she has this fashion sense—at age six. I bought these shoes. And I’m thinking, ‘I’m the cool dad and I’m going to show her these new half-boot shoes that I got.’ So I said, “What do you think of these?” She said, “Hmmmm … no. Not liking ‘em.” She knew she was being funny but she was also saying she didn’t like them. ‘They don’t work for me.’ But just the way she phrases things are so funny—it’s definitely a reflection of my wife and I.
During filming, did you pick up any tips about how to be a parent later on?
Oh, all the time! It wasn’t just preparing myself or worrying about the future and how I’m going to handle an older kid who challenges me, though. There’s a flip side that I can’t wait for. These kids are smart and funny and charming and had so much life to them that it was exciting to be around them. Their whole lives are ahead of them and they’re just starting to understand that. They’re making that transition between childhood and adulthood, and there’s a lot of turmoil and upheaval but it’s exciting because their eyes are opening to all of these new things. That’s what I took away from the experience with the older teenagers—that it’s going to be a very exciting time for me with my daughters.
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