By Katharina Urban-Oberberg
LONDON (Reuters) - He may now be a doting dad marketing a range of jams and jellies, but Steve Carell's Gru character in the sequel to the animated supervillain children's comedy "Despicable Me" still longs for a little bit of the old criminal fun.
Gru's redemption, in the form of his love for adopted daughters Margo, Agnes and Edith, hasn't spoiled his taste for gadgetry and plotting in "Despicable Me 2", due out next month, U.S. comedy actor Carell told Reuters Television on Wednesday.
"There's a side of him that still wants to be in the villain game, that wants the excitement and is fulfilled by that, if you will, so he's having growing pains as a father," he said.
Carell, 50, is probably best known for his bumbling office manager character Michael Scott in the U.S. version of the hit TV show "The Office". But his big-screen appearances have included starring roles in "Date Night" (2010), 2008's "Get Smart" and "The 40 Year Old Virgin" (2005).
As Gru, the former evil genius with the exotic accent who once tried to steal the moon, Carell's character in "Despicable Me 2" struggles with pressure to go on dates as well as something most father with a daughter must eventually face: boys.
"His oldest daughter (Margo, voiced by Miranda Cosgrove) is becoming interested in boys, which is a complication he doesn't really know how to deal with," Carell said. "His kids want him to date and that's an area he has no interest in at all."
The latest film, directed by French duo Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud, follows in the footsteps of their endearing 2010 creation that earned $543 million worldwide, according to box-office tracker Boxofficemojo.com.
Carell said his role as Gru amongst his loveable yellow, goggle-eyed minions has earned the actor a lot of credibility with his own children, who loved the minions.
"I think it's impossible not to love the minions," he said. "And in this one the minions have an ever-greater presence.
"Without giving anything away, there are some minions you wouldn't expect in this second one," he added.
Carell said he finally understood how well the formula worked after attending the screening of the first film with a childless adult male friend who laughed and was touched by it.
"One of the things I liked about the first one is that it's not condescending towards children," he said. "It really is a sophisticated kind of humor that I think kids really enjoy."
(Editing by Paul Casciato and Xavier Briand)