Will Ferrell Jokes He’s ‘Being Typecast’ as a Villain After ‘Despicable Me 4’ and ‘Barbie’ Bad Guy Roles

The yellow Minionese-speaking Minions are back and Maxime Le Mal is the newest villain to cause mayhem in Illumination’s “Despicable Me 4,” directed by Chris Renaud and Patrick Delage. Will Ferrell voices the French supervillain who escapes from prison, which leads Gru (Steve Carell) and his family Lucy, Margo, Edith, Agnes and a new addition, Gru Jr., to go on the run.

“[Chris and I] have been trying to work together for a long time. [“Despicable Me 4″] was an opportunity where I was pitched the character of being the villain, this French bad guy, Maxime, and that’s all I needed to hear was ‘French’ and ‘bad guy,'” Ferrell told Variety at the film’s New York premiere in June.

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“I’m being typecast now,” Ferrell jokingly said about playing Maxime following his role as the Mattel CEO villain in last year’s “Barbie.” “It’s always fun to be mean, in a silly way. And I think that’s just a side of you that you don’t get to express…it’s just fun to play around with the voice and it’s a little bit of an homage to the Pink Panther,” he continued.

Audiences last saw a much younger Gru in the 2022 “Despicable Me” prequel “Minions: The Rise of Gru.” Carell said he was able to find Gru’s original voice again for the film thanks to advice from his kids. “When I originated the voice, it was my kids who said, ‘That’s the one you should use,’ after I tried a few different voices,” Carell said. “Whenever I’m about to go try it again, I’ll test it out on them, and I’ll ask, ‘Is that the one? Does that sound like it?’ And they say, ‘Yup, that’s it’ and I’ll go with that.”

The six films in the “Despicable Me” franchise have grossed over $4 billion at the global box office since the first movie premiered 14 years ago. The 2017 film. “Despicable Me 3,” made history at the time of the release, crossing the $1 billion milestone worldwide and exceeding the “Shrek” series as highest-grossing animated film franchise. “Minions: The Rise of Gru” was also a success, at the time of its release earning the highest domestic opening for an animated film since 2019’s “Frozen 2,” representing a “huge bounce back for family-friendly fare after lockdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Variety previously reported.

When asked if he was confident that “Despicable Me 4” would share similar success at the box office, Carell replied, “You never know, that’s something I keep my head out of…that first ‘Despicable Me’ no one knew that it would do as well as it did and spur the other sequels behind it, so I’m always pleasantly surprised when things turn out well,” Carell said, before leaving the morning premiere to make his matinee performance of Broadway’s “Uncle Vanya.”

Joey King is also a new addition to the franchise. She voices Poppy Prescott, an aspiring villain who looks up to Gru. King is no stranger to voice acting with credits in “Horton Hears a Who!” and “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs.” “I would have been happy playing a rock in the movie,” King joked.

She continued, “I’ve been such a fan since I was a little girl. I’m obsessed with these movies. And so getting to be part of them as a cast member is surreal.”

Miranda Cosgrove grew up with the franchise. Now 31, she was just 13 when she first played Margo, a character who has remained a teen all these years later. “I try to make my voice a little higher and younger when I do the part, but it’s nothing crazy. I kind of have a pretty easy job. It’s usually just really fun,” she said.

Cosgrove also said she’s hopes to make an “iCarly” movie following the TV series revival that was canceled last year. “I’m pretty sure it’s gonna happen. So I’m excited, and I’d love to get to wrap up the story.”

“Despicable Me 4” is now in theaters.

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