Watch: Steve Carell reveals how he came up with the voice for Gru
His face is familiar from comedies such as The Office and The 40 Year Old Virgin, as well as his dramatic roles such as Foxcatcher and Beautiful Boy, but there’s just one voice that we all associate with Steve Carell.
The unique tones of master villain, Gru, from Despicable Me. And it was chosen by his children.
Talking to Yahoo ahead of the release of his latest outing as Gru – Minions: The Rise Of Gru – he described how he came up with the voice we all know. “Initially, I just played around with some different ones,” he recalled.
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“I wanted it to be sort of threatening, but not really. More the kind of kind of guy who thinks he sounds more threatening than he actually is, and with a tone that actually makes you laugh at the same time.”
The critical moment came when he let his children hear the voice for the first time. “I tested it out on my kids and that’s the one that made them laugh, so I went with it,” Carell told us.
Gru’s band of devoted helpers, the Minions, have a unique language all of their own. It’s not always easy to understand, even though some familiar words slip through and, even though Gru usually speaks to them in English, Carell revealed that there are times when he’s 'broken into Minionese'.
But it’s not an easy language to speak, he admits. “I can do it if I practice, but I can’t just break into it,” he admitted. “It’s hard. It’s really hard.”
Minions:The Rise of Gru is Carell’s fifth outing as the character, but this time he’s a 12-year-old, desperately hatching a plan to join supervillains, The Vicious 6.
Things don’t go as he would like initially, but with help from Kevin, Stuart, Bob and a new Minion, Otto, together with The Vicious 6’s former leader, Wild Knuckles (voiced by Alan Arkin) he finds a way to achieve his number one dream: to be a supervillain.
With the prospect of playing the role for the sixth time round the corner – Despicable Me 4 is due out next year – Carell described why he keeps coming back to both the character and the series as a whole.
“I have a real affection for the whole thing, the group, it’s a family that makes these things,” he explained.
“And it’s so much fun, it’s very collaborative, they’re a blast to make and they’re funny to promote. It’s putting something sweet and kind and nice out into the world. I don’t really see a downside to it.”
Alongside Carell, Minions: The Rise Of Gru has an all-star voice cast, with Julie Andrews, Pierre Coffin and Russell Brand returning to the fold, plus newcomers Arkin, Taraji P Henson, Michelle Yeoh, Dolph Lundgren, Jean Claude Van Damme and Danny Trejo.
Minions: The Rise Of Gru is in cinemas from 1 July, 2022.
Watch a trailer below.