Steve Carell, "In Real Life"

Steve Carell
CBS/The Early Show
Steve Carell isn't a newcomer to movies. He made his movie debut in 1991, but in recent years he has become what he likes to call a "super sexy leading man ... animalistic," with his starring roles in "40-Year-Old Virgin," "Evan Almighty" and now "Dan in Real Life."

Well, not really. But Carell, who also stars in the hit sitcom "The Office," has become one of the most successful actors today. In his latest film, he plays a widowed family advice columnist who works overtime to protect his three rebellious daughters. But in real life, he says he dispenses some pretty lousy advice.

"The only sort of advice I can give is advice they've gotten at some point in my life and it worked for me and I use it," he told The Early Show co-anchor Hannah Storm. "My parents have given me great advice, and that's the advice I dispense to my kids. But generating my own, not so good at that."

Photos: "Dan In Real Life"
The best advice he ever got was pretty simple: "It's OK to be an actor."

"I was going to go to law school and they just said don't do something to make us happy," Carell said.

It's a good thing he held on to his dream because it has paid off.

"It's a bit surreal, I have to say," he said. "I didn't anticipate any of this happening but I feel really lucky. I'm just trying to enjoy it at the moment."

Carell, a father of two, said he was seeing what the future holds for him by making "Dan in Real Life."

"Especially my 15-year-old daughter in the movie who has one foot in childhood and one in adulthood and she's freaking out and falling in love and my character just doesn't know what to do about it," he said.

Photos: Steve Carell
In the movie, Carell's character and his daughters attend a family reunion where he meets and falls in love with his brother's girlfriend played by Juliette Binoche. Carell said he had been looking forward to doing a movie with Binoche.

"I couldn't believe it. If you told me three years ago that she and I would be in a movie together," he said. "She's great. She's so sweet and obviously a fantastic actress. But so disarmingly beautiful and kind and warm, I was just really lucky to, you know, be in a movie with her. My wife wasn't nervous at all because she is so out of my league that she has absolutely nothing to worry about."