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Steve Carell Recruited Some Help In Order To Create Gru's Voice For Despicable Me

The "Despicable Me" franchise has been making animation history for over a decade now. After its debut with the 2010 hit, the franchise chugged along, with each installment raking in more and more. Both "Despicable Me 3" and "Minions" have earned over $1 billion each at the worldwide box office, helping the series become the highest-grossing animated film franchise of all time, surpassing the likes of "Shrek" and "Toy Story" (via Deadline). And with their newest entry, "Minions: The Rise of Gru," dominating the Independence Day weekend box office, it seems that the series is showing no signs of slowing down (via The Hollywood Reporter).

So just what is the secret ingredient that has helped this seemingly simple series of films following the exploits of a former evil villain-turned-loving dad and his wacky minion sidekicks to be amongst the most profitable franchises in film history? A lot of it likely has to do with its colorful assortment of characters, from the comical minions to the creatively hilarious villains. However, we need look no further than the main protagonist, Gru, voiced by Steve Carell, as the franchise's beating heart. Not only is his journey from devious bad guy to devoted father heartwarming to see unfold, but Carell's distinct vocal performance has given the character a maniacal, yet silly personality. But in the journey to find that voice, Carell enlisted help from the very best in distinguishing memorable, hilarious voices.

Carell's kids helped him land on the perfect voice

While it's hard to imagine Gru's voice sounding any different nowadays, Steve Carell's task in nailing down the voice was a tall task when first presented with the character years before the first film's release. "I wanted it to be sort of threatening, but not really," he told Yahoo News. "More the 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."

To find help in nailing down the perfect voice for the animated kids' movie, Carell got help from his own children in making the decision. On the U.K. talk show "Lorraine," Carell told host Lorraine Kelly, "I tried some different voices on them when they were little before the first movie. And that's the one they thought was funny, so that's the one I went with." Since then, Carell has put it to more use than starring in movies. In an interview with "Jake's Takes," the actor mentioned that he'll even leave voice messages for his friends' kids as Gru just for fun.

Carell not only starred in all three main "Despicable Me" films but also returned to the role as a younger version of the character that first becomes established with the Minions in "Minions: The Rise of Gru." He will be reprising the role once again in a fourth "Despicable Me" film set to come out in summer 2024 (via Variety).