Just When I Thought I Was in … They Pull me Back Out: Al Pacino Exits ‘Despicable Me 2′

Mark Deming
Movie Talk

If you were looking forward to hearing Al Pacino voice a character in an animated feature, the wait just got a whole lot longer. Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment revealed Friday that Pacino has been dropped from the voice cast of "Despicable Me 2," with the studios citing creative differences.

Not missing a beat, it was announced that Benjamin Bratt has stepped in to replace Pacino as the voice of Eduardo, nemesis to Steve Carell's super-villain-turned-family-man Gru.

The announcement came as a surprise, given that Pacino has been attached to the project since February of 2012, and the film is scheduled to open in theaters on July 3, only two months from the day Pacino's departure was announced.

Pacino's casting would certainly have added an interesting spin to the sequel to the 2010 animated hit, which helped solidify Steve Carell's status as a box-office draw, earning $543 million worldwide. "Despicable Me 2" would have marked Pacino's debut in the voice cast of an animated feature, and given him a rare opportunity to appear in a family-friendly comedy.

The film's producers released a statement, which read: "Over the production of 'Despicable Me 2,' there were creative differences between us and Al Pacino, who had been cast as the voice of Eduardo in the film. We have mutually decided with Al to replace the voice of Eduardo with a new actor. Universal and Illumination thank Al for his many contributions to the process and look forward to a new actor bringing this memorable character to the screen upon its release this summer."

Other actors in the "Despicable Me 2" voice cast include Kristen Wiig, Steve Googan, Russell Brand, Ken Jeong, and Miranda Cosgrove. If all still goes according to the studio's plan, 'Despicable Me 2' is on target to hit theaters July 3.

Watch the theatrical trailer for 'Despicable Me 2':