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How Steve Carrell Got Into Gru's Headspace For Minions: The Rise Of Gru

While Steve Carell got on many TV fans' radars as quirky Dunder Mifflin Paper Company regional manager Michael Scott in the hit NBC sitcom "The Office," movie fans — particularly kids — know the actor by the voice he brings to the playful villain Gru in the "Despicable Me" franchise. It's a character that Carell has voiced since the first "Despicable Me" movie in 2010, reprising the role in the film's sequels as well as the two "Minions" spin-off movies — including the animated comedy smash hit "Minions: The Rise of Gru."

The biggest difference between the "Despicable Me" chapters and "Minions: The Rise of Gru," however, is that "The Rise of Gru" flashes back to 1975, where we meet Gru as an 11-year-old boy who is somewhat impatient with his yellow, pill-shaped henchmen. Gru's ultimate goal is to become a supervillain, and he plans to take his first big step into that world by applying to fill a vacancy in the fearsome crime clan the Vicious Six. But when the group's leader, Belle Bottom (Taraji P. Henson), laughs off Gru because of his age, he quickly turns the tables on the Vicious Six and finds a mentor in the Six's ousted leader, Wild Knuckles (Alan Arkin).

Of course, Carell made the voice of Gru distinct in the "Despicable Me" movies by giving him a creepy Eastern European accent, and for "Minions: The Rise of Gru," the character has the same delivery and intonation, but his voice has a higher pitch. He's still Gru through and through, and Carell revealed the method to his madness of getting into playing the villainous character at a young age.

Carell had silly fun putting himself in the mind of an 11-year-old for The Rise of Gru

In an interview with HeyUGuys, Steve Carell said that since he's had the great benefit of reprising the role of Gru so often, he's been able to delve into the character's mindset more than he would otherwise. "I've had so many of these movies now to create this Gru character, and it's not something you generally get to do in animation — develop a character over subsequent movies and then to go back and play an origin story to what this character was when they were 11," Carell explained. "I tried to think about how earnest this kid was, what he wanted out of life ... he's trying to define himself, like you are at 11, trying to figure out what you want to be, who your friends are going to be, who's going to have your back, who's your tribe."

Ultimately, Carell added, playing the young Gru was like an experiment where he tried different approaches. "It's very collaborative, very silly. We're just always having a lot of fun trying all sorts of things," he said.

As it turns out, Carell was further helped by the fact that some of Gru's experiences even mirror his own from his youth. In "Minions: The Rise of Gru," Gru and some of his Minions sneak into "Jaws" at the theater. Carell admitted to Screen Rant to doing the same, sneaking into both "Jaws"  and a much scarier movie: "The Exorcist."