Illumination Entertainment founder Chris Melandandri and Steve Carell, the voice of Despicable Me's Gru, on Wednesday got the Universal slate presentation at CinemaCon underway with new footage from Despicable Me 3.
The offering included clips during which Gru meets his brother, Dru (also voiced by Carell); Gru and Lucy (Kristen Wiig) are fired from their jobs; the Minions land in prison; Agnes ("Fluffy!") brings the cute; '80s-inspired villain Balthazar Bratt (South Park-co-creator Trey Parker) steals a gem; and an action sequence takes place on Hollywood Blvd.
"I think Gru is the best character ever in the history of cinema," enthused Carell. "There a humanity to these movies ... and they're funny, and I think that's part of the appeal."
Melandandri commented that when the brothers first meet in the film, Gru realizes the only difference is that Dru has flowing blond hair. "Men without hair are outcasts," Carell quipped, getting laughs. "It weighs in business and romantic entanglements - so your heart really goes out to Gru. He's running at such a deficit. ... The characters feel very human. It doesn't go over the top in sentiment. It feels legitimate and real."
On finding the voice for Dru, Carell said, "There no country that applies to Gru; we started with that because Dru probably grew up in a country of non-orientation. But Gru is cynical, so Dru is earnest, fun, free and giddy. It's so much fun, and you let the actors play with the voices and improvise and make it our own, which is great."
He added that the recording sessions were challenging for the scenes when the brothers interact. Carell often recorded the Gru lines, followed by all of the Dru lines. Melandandri related that new Minion Mel "leads a mini-rebellion against Gru. He's a real thorn in Gru's side." Carell joked to Melandandri, "That character is based on you. ... Think of your last name."