Steve Carell interview

Hollywood's funnyman Steve Carell turns to a tale of romance

Steve Carell, 45, takes time off from being Hollywood’s latest funnyman to play the title role in romance tale Dan in Real Life, the story of a newspaper columnist who falls for his brothers’ partner.

What made you want to do Dan in Real Life?

I liked Dan because he’s just a normal guy, struggling along as best he can but never allowing himself to wallow in self-pity.

Did Dan’s relationship with his kids make you think of your relationship with your own children?

Well, I have a six-year-old daughter and a three-year-old son, so being around a nine, 15 and 17-year-old in the film felt like my life accelerated by a few years and it was pretty scary, I can tell you. As a parent, all you want is for your kids to be safe but you don’t want to be over-protective and so you know that at some stage, they’re going to make their own mistakes and get hurt emotionally when all you want to do is protect them from that. My character Dan is going through a lot of hurt and all he wants is for his own kids to never experience that, which of course is an impossible thing to accomplish.

And what do you want for your own children?

To never have to hear them say: ‘Dad, you’re such a jerk’.

Is that ever a possibility?

Well, it might have been if I’d had success earlier in life, but having success that much later meant I was far more grounded when it came. The last few years of my life have just been surreal and after a lifetime of disappointment and heartache and rejection, I still don’t believe this is all actually happening.

Dan in Real Life opens on 11 January.

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