‘Minions: The Rise of Gru’: How Steve Carell Changed His Voice for the ‘Despicable Me’ Prequel

Steve Carell is a comedic genius, never failing to make audiences laugh with his performances. He is well-known for his work in The Office, but he has one other character that is most definitely a fan favorite. Carell’s performance as Despicable Me‘s leading man, Gru, is nothing short of incredible. Although the actor has become quite comfortable playing the kind-hearted villain over the years, Minions: The Rise of Gru has provided him with a new challenge — changing his voice from adult Gru to child Gru. 

Steve Carell is the voice of the world’s most lovable villain, Gru

steve carell gru voice
Steve Carell speaks onstage during the Hand and Footprint Cement Ceremony for Illumination’s Minions to celebrate “Minions: The Rise Of Gru” hosted by the TCL Chinese Theatre at TCL Chinese Theatre on June 24, 2022 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images)

The original Despicable Me film was released in 2010, and instantly became a box office smash. Gru set out to be the world’s most despicable villain but became one of the most lovable characters in animated film history. 

Gru’s hilarious introductions paved the way for an unforgettable franchise. The film creates a vivid portrait of a maniacal bad guy who really isn’t bad at all. That’s exactly what makes it so moving when the audience begins to see Gru slowly change throughout the film, allowing three little orphans into his heart. It may just be an animated film, but it’s a powerful redemption story loaded with laughs. 

Steve Carell had to make some changes for ‘Little Gru’

Carell’s latest foray into the world of super-villainy came as a prequel story for our beloved Gru. Throughout the franchise, Carell has been doing the same voice for Gru. But the most recent film – Minions: The Rise of Gru – forced Carell to make some changes to the lead character. In a recent interview on Late Night with Seth Meyers, the actor talked about the changes he had to make to voice young Gru. 

Carell demonstrated the difference between the two versions of Gru. “Little Gru is just more earnest and higher,” he explained. When Meyers asked him if the Gru voice was difficult, Carell joked, “I think anyone can do Gru. I really — I shouldn’t say that, ’cause I’ll be out of a job. Because they could probably get it.”

‘Minions: The Rise of Gru’ is killing it at the box office


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Minions: The Rise of Gru debuted on July 1, 2022. It’s already breaking box office records. According to CNN, it made about $125 million opening weekend in the U.S. — making it the biggest July 4th one of all time.

The Rise of Gru provides audiences with the prequel story of Gru’s ambition to become a supervillain. Young Gru may be even more lovable than adult Gru, but a healthy dose of those brightly-colored little minions is the real draw. The super groovy film has the incredibly bright backdrop of the 1970s, making it a nostalgic trip for parents. 

Despite voicing the central character, Steve Carell admits Gru isn’t really the draw regarding the franchise. “[It’s] the minions,” he explained on the Today Show. “It’s sort of incomprehensible to me that it became what it became. People love them. I think it’s because they’re equal parts obnoxious and endearing,” he laughed.