Double trouble for Steve Carell in Despicable Me 3
Steve Carell voices both Gru and Dru in latest instalment of animated film series
In the third iteration of the franchise Despicable Me, fans of Steve Carell, who voices supervillain-turned-super-dad Gru, are in for a double treat.
It turns out that Gru has a twin brother, Dru, with flowing golden locks, an ebullient attitude, a higher voice and a pig farm in Freedonia, and desperately wishes to follow in Gru's despicable footsteps. Dru is also voiced by Carell.
We last saw Gru being recruited by the Anti-Villain League (AVL) to hunt down criminals. He fell in love with super-spy Lucy (Kristen Wiig) and brought her home to be mum to his three adorable adopted daughters.
In Despicable Me 3, now showing in cinemas, Gru and Lucy are in pursuit of the latest villain to threaten humanity, former child star Balthazar Bratt (Trey Parker), who still bears a grudge against Hollywood for cancelling his TV show.
Gru and Lucy are spectacularly unsuccessful and humiliatingly fired from the AVL. In steps Dru with his super-villain aspirations, begging his brother to give him training so they can be bad together.
Carell, 54, talked about finding Dru during our interview at the Montage hotel in Beverly Hills.
"It was less distinctive in terms of the accent and more about the attitude of the character. Gru is a pretty grouchy, grumpy, awful guy, and Dru is much more ebullient.
"He is just really silly and funny and very lighthearted, and I try to reflect that in the voice. I figure they grew up in maybe three or four countries away from each other so there is that basic kind of vague Slavic sense to them."
Since the recording was done over a number of months, was it hard to keep the continuity?
"I stay in character all the time, so during that two years, this is the first time I've actually spoken in my real voice," said Carell, laughing.
"The last two years I've been talking like this:(Drops into Gru's accent) 'Hey kids, have a good day at school.'"
Carell said he grew up loving cartoons on television such as "Bugs Bunny and that whole Looney Tunes world".
"I think the Despicable Me series borrows from that genre because in my mind the Minions are very much in keeping with the whole Looney Tunes theme.
"They're funny and silly, and a lot of it is predicated on slapstick and physical humour. The animators do such a good job in the timing of physical gags. It is one thing to do it live action and hard enough to figure out comedic timing on things."
Carell would rather be called a funny person than a comedian, and he doesn't feel the pressure to always be "on".
But he emphasised the importance of laughter.
"I think it is cathartic. A movie like this, in all of its silliness, is just fun. It is positive energy, and I think there is such a place for it. Laughing incredibly hard, there isn't anything that compares to that."