Carell hosts charity screening of `Get Smart'

June 20, 2008 8:03:43 AM PDT
Steve Carell stepped out of "The Office" to join the fight against cancer at a benefit that featured a screening of his new movie, "Get Smart."

The screening was held Thursday night to benefit The Zachary Carson Brain Tumor Fund, named after a Newton teenager Carell met on the set of his NBC comedy in February 2007 through the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Carell said he has been inspired by Carson and his family.

"It was a great group of people, is a great group of people, and I just felt very honored to be included in that circle," he said.

The screening at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute was the second time Carell has used his celebrity to raise money to fight diffuse pontine glioma, the type of pediatric cancer that killed Carson.

In June 2007, he helped orchestrate a Boston premiere of his movie "Evan Almighty" to fund research into the cancer, which causes an inoperable malignant tumor in the brain stem. Carson died three months later at the age of 19, after a 27-month fight against the disease.

Carell said Carson's mother, Roberta, has continued in her quest to combat cancer.

"His mom is a remarkable woman and so much of his legacy I think lives through her and the rest of his family," he said.

Tickets for the screening of the TV spy spoof "Get Smart" sold for $100 apiece. The event also included an auction offering the chance to have Carell record a voice mail message for the winner and front row seats at Fenway Park, among other things.

Carell, 44, and his wife, actress Nancy Walls, are Massachusetts natives with a house in Marshfield. He said it was exciting to be in the area for the Celtics' NBA championship win.

"Nobody cares about sports in Los Angeles," he said. "I might be going out of a limb here, but it's much more of a fair-weather fan mentality."

Carell offered no clues about the next season of "The Office."

"I have no idea," he said. "You know, they're writing episodes. I'm not even being coy. ... Anything can happen at this point."