HollywoodLife.com talked EXCLUSIVELY with ‘Despicable Me 3’ writers Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio about creating the perfect storylines for Gru, Lucy, and the girls. Plus, do they have plans for a fourth movie?
Raise your hand if you’ve been waiting a long time for this movie! Despicable Me 3 hit theaters on June 30, marking the third movie in the hit franchise. Despicable Me 3 comes 4 years after the phenomenon of Despicable Me 2. Gru (Steve Carell), Lucy (Kristen Wiig), the girls, and the Minions are back once again for lots of fun, laughs, and adventure. Gru is a reformed villain, but when he discovers that he has a twin brother, Dru, he finds himself embracing his inner villainy again. While the two brothers couldn’t be more different, they still have a lot of fun together.
HollywoodLife.com got the chance to talk EXCLUSIVELY with the movie’s writers, Cinco Paul, 53, and Ken Daurio, about continuing Gru’s story, and they admit it was a “challenge” at first. Plus, the reveal the how they created perfect villain in the deliciously wicked Balthazar Bratt, giving Lucy a chance to bond with the girls, and so much more. The family-friendly movie is an absolute delight, and it’s all thanks to Ken and Cinco, who’ve been with the franchise since the beginning. Check out our interview with the writers below!
Were there any challenges for you guys in coming up with a third story?
Cinco Paul: It was quite a big challenge. It took us a long time to crack this story, a lot longer than it did the first two movies, because in some ways after the end of the first movie, the family is complete. You have a mom and dad and you’ve got your kids, and there’s several different directions to go. But then ultimately, once we started talking about the possibility that Gru had a brother that he didn’t know about, that was the moment when the lightbulb went off, and we thought that it would be interesting to explore that dynamic of sibling rivalry. We kind of realized that the series is all about family, and each movie expands the family.
Ken Daurio: It was really fun in this movie to bring in the brother and as Cinco said, we kind of had seen him [Gru] through flashbacks. We saw his childhood and there was no brother, and it was really fun to find a way to bring in a relative that no one saw coming.
Cinco Paul: Ken and I are like brothers in many ways.
Ken Daurio: We are!
Tell me a bit about the creative process behind Dru and making him very different from Gru.
Ken Daurio: We knew from the beginning that we wanted Gru’s brother to be the opposite of Gru, because we wanted someone who was going to annoy Gru. We wanted to see Gru frustrated, because that’s when Gru’s the most fun, when he’s angry and annoyed. Gru is Gru, so his brother would be happy and joyful and full of life and huggy, and so we knew we were going there and that was really fun. Once we got in the studio with Steve, watching him create that character was so much fun. We’ve been working with him for years now as cranky, angry Gru and watching him create this character and the laugh that he came up with for Dru…
Cinco Paul: … [It] was so infectious and just amazing. I’ll also say we knew that Dru would have hair, these long blonde locks. We wrote that in the script and when the first image came back from Eric Guillon — who’s one of the co-directors on the movie — of Gru and Dru together and Dru just having this amazing hair, we knew we had something fun.
What was the inspiration behind the villain Balthazar Bratt?
Cinco Paul: When we first had the idea that this villain would be an ex-‘80s child star, we were so excited and so in love with the idea that we were really nervous that it might go away.
Ken Daurio: We knew it wasn’t going to last. We laughed for 3 or 4 days before we would even tell anybody that this was our idea, because once we kind of put it out there we loved it so much that were afraid that it would go away.
Cinco Paul: He was very influenced by Small Wonder and these horrible ‘80s shows, and we just thought, oh, it’s called Evil Bratt and he has a catchphrase. We were just getting very excited about it, and then we just looked at each other and though, oh, we like this too much. It’s not going to happen. But miraculously it did, and it sort of provided this great ‘80s theme to the whole movie which was very fun for two guys who grew up in the ‘80s.
Ken Daurio: We really discovered that after we came up with the idea. We loved the character, the ex-child star, but then when we realized he was going to be stuck in the ‘80s and we got to put all our favorite ‘80s references and songs in the movie, we were so delighted. One of the best days of recording was the day we had Trey Parker in the studio, and there was a scene where he was going to sing an ‘80s song and we were trying to decide what ‘80s song we should have him sing. We would yell out a song and he would sing it. We would yell out a different song and he would sing it. He could sing any ‘80s song we threw at him. It was like ‘80s karaoke.
One of my favorite parts of the movie was Lucy developing a closer relationship with the girls. How important was it for you guys to grow those relationships?
Cinco Paul: It was interesting because it took us a while. We were also struggling with what Lucy’s place is in this movie. Gru is kind of returning to villainy, so a lot of the focus is on Gru and his brother and the sort of secret things that they’re doing. We were struggling a bit with what Lucy’s role would be in the movie, and for a while we were having her, because she was fired, miss crime fighting and start fighting crime in Freedonia.
Ken Daurio: She sort of became a vigilante in Freedonia catching pig thieves and people were committing crimes with cheese. There was a whole subplot of crime-fighting Lucy.
Cinco Paul: There’s a whole cheese crime problem in Freedonia, I guess. But ultimately we realized she was so separate from the rest of the story. At one point, I think we started to think about that she is a new mom, and she’s never done this before. She’s so capable as a secret agent, it might be interesting for her to suddenly feel insecure about being a mom and be a little more vulnerable. It was really fun to play with that and also Margo has been in the mom role…
Ken Daurio: We sort of thought that would be a fun dynamic to see it be not so easy for Margo to hand over the maternal role in the family because she’s been taking care of her little sisters for as long as she can remember. We really did like that idea of seeing Lucy, so gung-ho and positive and feels like she knows what she’s doing in every single situation, be vulnerable and saying, “I don’t know how to do this. I’m a mom and that scares me.” We really liked that idea.
The Minions are always so great. Why did you guys decide to separate the Minions until the end?
Cinco Paul: I don’t know exactly how we came about it. It was sort of a natural thing. I think Pierre Coffin, the co-director, had the idea that the Minions would quit because they were unhappy. They missed being villains. Once they started from there, it made sense that they would take off on their own adventure because they’ve left. We wanted Gru to be really down. He loses his job, and then the Minions leave, and so it sort of organically came from that and then pretty early on we pitched out that we wanted the Minions in jail.
Ken Daurio: Minions in prison was all we needed to say and then everyone sort of got excited about that idea.
Cinco Paul: The jokes just flowed very easily form that. Then it was actually Pierre who pitched out the way they end up in jail, the singing competition, which I think is my favorite Minions scene.
Ken Daurio: I agree. Pierre came in with that, figured it out completely, and recorded the music and had drawn out storyboards, because he came in and said, “I have this idea for this Minions scene and I can’t explain it. Just watch.” He put it up and we watched it and said, “Well that’s in the movie.”
Do you guys have any ideas for a Despicable Me 4?
Cinco Paul: We have a few inklings.
Ken Daurio: We’ve thought about it. It’s funny because when we wrote the first one, we literally looked at each other and said, “Well that’s done. We’ve told the whole story. There’s no more story.”
Cinco Paul: That was our initial response when, you know, the movie was pretty successful and the studio said, “Well, what will Despicable Me 2 be?” And we said…
Ken Daurio: There is no Despicable Me 2.
Cinco Paul: … The story’s done. Gru’s changed and he’s with the girls.
Ken Daurio: We sort of had to really figure out how we were going to do this, and once we realized it was about Gru’s family growing, who’s going to come into the family next, it made things so much easier. Once we realized that’s what this story is about, it’s about this family expanding and the importance of family. Since we had that breakthrough, there are many more ideas that are sort of out there and things we might want to do.
Cinco Paul: So maybe there are other ways for the family to expand.
Ken Daurio: Maybe there are…