Ellen DeGeneres and her viewers may have been expecting Steve Carell to drop by her show on Thursday. What they got was something a little more villainous but just as hilarious.
Carell appeared on DeGeneres’s daytime talk show "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" to promote his upcoming film, the computer-animated comedy “Despicable Me 2.” But instead of showing up as the nice guy who starred in “The Office,” “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” and “Little Miss Sunshine,” Carell instead came dressed up as Gru, his super-villain turned single-dad character from the “Despicable Me” movies.
Wearing a bald cap, pointed nose, striped scarf, and a black zip-up jacket with massive padded shoulders that suggested his neck had somehow gone missing, Carell enthusiastically answered questions in his character’s thick Eastern European accent, though he played cagey on Gru’s actual origins. When DeGeneres asked about his background, Gru insisted he hailed from Albuquerque, New Mexico, and had only been in California once before – to get some Starbucks, which is apparently a lot better in L.A. than in the Southwest.
“That’s where I’m from! Don’t push this topic!” Gru bellowed as the audience roared with laughter.
This being the Ellen DeGeneres show, Gru also got a chance to show off his dancing skills; as the sound system blasted some vintage Bee Gees, Gru made like he was on “Soul Train” as he boogied his way through the audience. Too bad some of Gru’s Minions couldn’t have come along to form a conga line.
Carell’s appearance comes as the promotion machine is heating up for “Despicable Me 2,” which opens in theaters on July 3. The sequel finds Gru teaming up with the Anti-Villain League to confront his new nemesis, Eduardo. Eduardo was originally to be voiced by Al Pacino, but in early May it was announced that the legendary actor had dropped out of the project due to creative differences, and Benjamin Bratt signed on to voice the character in his place. Other actors lending their talents to the movie include Kristen Wiig, Steve Coogan, Russell Brand, Ken Jeong, and Miranda Cosgrove.
“Despicable Me 2” will also kick off a busy summer for Carell. In addition to reprising his role as Gru, Carell will be seen in the indie comedy “The Way, Way Back,” which goes into limited release on July 5, and he has two films in production. The highly anticipated return of Ron Burgundy, “Anchorman: The Legend Continues,” is shooting in Atlanta and is due to open in December, and Carell will star alongside Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo in the fact-based drama “Foxcatcher.”
See Gru in stills from "Despicable Me 2"...