Dispatch: Steve Carell on Aisle Five
IN LATE JUNE CARELL STOPPED IN to, as the locals tell it, stock shelves and run the register, just as he’d promised in a joking quote he gave to the Globe when he bought the place. Brad White wasn’t there, but he heard about it, and recounts the story as if it were his own. “He’s such a fun guy,” he says of Carell. “Gregarious. Low-key.” Vivado confirms that Carell was in town to check on the progress of the renovation, but that, no, he wasn’t stocking shelves. “It was totally impromptu,” she says. “He shook some hands. It was more of a quiet reaction.” The aftermath, however, was not so quiet. “People were in and out, ‘We heard Steve was here!’” she says. “One little kid spotted me in front of the store as he was driving by with his mother and made her slow down so he could yell, ‘Hey, wait a minute! Is Steve with you?’”
The truth is that Carell is not often in Marshfield, and when he does visit he’s not exactly parading around town kissing babies or petting one of those 4,000 dogs, nor is he manning the register or stocking shelves. Still, that he spent much of the summer filming a movie in New York has given residents reason to hope he’ll be around more. “I just drove by his house about a month ago,” admits Marshfield Chamber of Commerce head Rich Roberts without a hint of embarrassment, “and I thought, Is he home or not?”
And if he were? When it comes to celebrities, an element of be-careful-what-you-wish-for is advisable. In 2002, for example, rapper Nelly considered buying a Missouri town and renaming it Nellyville. That’s the thing about celebrities: They just don’t know when to stop. Which, of course, is generally why they became famous in the first place.
But signs point to a different sort of relationship with Carell. “How many people who live in Plymouth go out to Plymouth Rock?” says Roberts. “There’s a lot of buzz, sure, but Steve Carell buying the general store has helped people go back and remember, even in their own town, what they have.” He’s talking about the store, of course, but it really doesn’t matter.