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'Me' Too: For Gru, Another Shot At Global Domination

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'Me' Too: For Gru, Another Shot At Global Domination

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'Me' Too: For Gru, Another Shot At Global Domination

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

NPR News is taking a closer look at the media for children this month. Now, one of the summer's big movies for kids, "Despicable Me 2". The title alone tells you a bit about the film's offbeat humor. It stars the hulking, evil villain named Gru.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "DESPICABLE ME 2")

SIMON: Who would adopt three adorable little girls? Now for all his bluster, Gru is a bit of a softy.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "DESPICABLE ME 2")

SIMON: NPR's Elizabeth Blair talked to the "Despicable Me" screenwriters about making an animated super villain super funny.

ELIZABETH BLAIR, BYLINE: One reason Gru is hilarious is the way he looks. He's got this big, huge chest and short skinny little legs. He's bald with a long pointy nose. He's full of himself.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "DESPICABLE ME 2")

BLAIR: And a social misfit. Steve Carell is the voice of Gru. When he was developing the character, he told NPR in 2010, he just felt Gru should have an accent.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED INTERVIEW)

(SOUNDBITE FROM "DESPICABLE ME 2")

BLAIR: "Despicable Me" writer Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio say Gru is something of a personal fantasy of theirs.

CINCO PAUL: Well Gru, as we conceived him, is basically the guy who does all the stuff we would love to do but we just can't. You know, he's the guy who will freeze everybody in line at the Starbucks.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "DESPICABLE ME")

KEN DAURIO: If someone's annoying him he will tell you. He will point out your flaws.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "DESPICABLE ME 2")

(LAUGHTER)

BLAIR: Oh, Gru is evil. Ken Daurio and Cinco Paul talk about Gru as if he's their child or their alter ego. They've written Gru's entire life, including his rough childhood.

DAURIO: It's rare you get to see the villain's back story as we've gotten to see Gru, you know, as a little kid and his horrible mom.

BLAIR: Gru has flashbacks. We see him as a little boy in a pretend space suit trying to impress his mom, who just sneers.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "DESPICABLE ME 2")

BLAIR: You might call the grown-up super villain Gru's revenge.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "DESPICABLE ME 2")

BLAIR: Gadgets and weapons and cool cars - sound familiar?

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

BLAIR: Ken Daurio and Cinco Paul are huge fans of old James Bond movies. Gru looks a little like the bond villain Blofeld. Gru's assistant, Dr. Nefario, is inspired by the bond character Q.

PAUL: Just the same way that James Bond has Q...

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, GOLDEN EYE")

PAUL: ...Gru has a mad scientist to create all of his gadgets and Dr. Nefario is getting on in years so he doesn't...

DAURIO: He may have not heard you right.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "DESPICABLE ME")

(SOUNDBITE OF FART)

: (as Gru) No, no, no. I said dart gun not...uh, OK.

BLAIR: In "Despicable Me 2," there are even more gadgets and weapons.

BEN CHILD: It's sort of James Bond times a thousand.

BLAIR: Ben Child writes a movie column for the Guardian in London.

CHILD: It's extremely hard to do a sequel that's as good as the original and this one actually did just have me literally crying tears of laughter at certain points. It's absolutely fantastic.

BLAIR: In "Despicable Me 2," Gru is recruited by the Anti-Villain League, a sort of secret FBI. He's a single father now, so he's had to give up his life of crime for tea parties and playing princess with his girls. Ken Daurio and Cinco Paul both have daughters and wrote those scenes from personal experience.

PAUL: Ultimately, the story of Gru is the story of all men who are villains until they become dads.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "DESPICABLE ME 2")

BLAIR: The girls in "Despicable Me 2" just keep winning over Gru's villainous heart. Elizabeth Blair, NPR News.

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