Gru faces hilarious challenges in ‘Despicable Me 4’

“Gru has his hands full, as usual,” says Steve Carell, who voices the beloved villain-turned-good-guy Gru.

In the latest installment to the beloved Despicable Me franchise, Gru’s life is turned upside down with the arrival of his and Lucy’s (Kristen Wiig) new baby, expanding his role to a father of four and a dedicated Anti-Villain League (AVL) agent.

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While his relationship with Lucy and the girls has never been stronger, connecting with little Gru Jr. has proved challenging. “Lucy and the girls have always been his motivation to be the best that he can be, but with the arrival of Gru Jr., the family dynamic changes,” continues Carell. “Gru Jr. is a chip off the old block, but he’s not warming up to dear old dad. Gru has nothing but love for his baby boy, but he faces an uphill battle to win his son’s affection. It’s every parent’s nightmare to not instantly bond with your kids, and Gru struggles to establish a relationship with his new bundle of joy, while simultaneously saving the world as an AVL agent.”

Photo credit: Universal Pictures International

As if parenting challenges weren’t hard enough, Gru and his family are forced into a type of witness protection program after Maxime Le Mal (Will Ferrell), Gru’s high school nemesis and award-winning supervillain, escapes from prison seeking revenge. Assuming the identity of Chet Cunningham, a solar panel salesman, Gru grapples with maintaining his cover while safeguarding his loved ones. “Gru struggles to live discretely as his new alias, Chet Cunningham; a boring, somewhat nerdy solar-panel salesman,” Carell says. “It’s a stretch for Gru, as he’s accustomed to a life of excitement and danger. Also, he’s not the best actor, so that invariably leads to some problems!”

Photo credit: Universal Pictures International

When Carell first took on the role of Gru, he never anticipated the enduring journey ahead. “From day one, Gru has been an absolute delight to play,” Carell says. “When we first meet him, he’s an evil, villainous criminal mastermind. But soon, we come to see that he also has an enormous heart, and a great capacity to love. He’s sort of a villain, kind of a hero. But mostly, he’s a husband and a father.

“I think that it’s fun to watch a character fight against the inevitability of their own goodness. Some people aren’t so nice, but they try to convince the world that they are; Gru is nice, but he tries to convince the world that he’s not! As the series has progressed, the writers have explored different aspects of Gru’s world. He’s still the same guy, but the emotional stakes become increasingly higher for him. It’s always rewarding to see a character grow, and Gru is no exception. The writing keeps the character fresh.”

Photo credit: Universal Pictures International

As much fun as the Academy Award®-nominated Carell has been having being the voice of Gru, the Despicable Me filmmakers have also been enjoying their collaboration of more than 10 years with Carell, who has become synonymous with the iconic character Gru in the world of Despicable Me.

“Steve basically is Gru,” director Chris Renaud says, in admiration of how Carell has brought to life the lovable yet complex supervillain-turned-family-man, thanks to his comedic brilliance and emotional depth. “It’s impossible to imagine that character without Steve’s voice. He approaches the character with thoughtfulness and care, always striving for the best performance. Our recording sessions, sometimes lasting up to three hours, are a testament to Steve’s unwavering energy and professionalism. He’s a pleasure to collaborate with.”

Besides Ferrell as the new movie’s big villain, Despicable Me 4 welcomes to the family Sofia Vergara (“Modern Family), Joey King (“Bullet Train”), Stephen Colbert (“The Late Show with Stephen Colbert”) and Chloe Fineman (“Saturday Night Live”).

Packed with non-stop action and filled with Illumination’s signature subversive humor, Despicable Me 4 opens in Philippine cinemas July 3.


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