Life is never easy for Gru in the Despicable Me films, as he’s always fighting the draw to the dark side (not to get all Star Wars on you), and it certainly doesn’t get any easier in Despicable Me 3.
He and wife Lucy are let go from the Anti-Villain League due to their inability to take down former ‘80s child star Balthazar Bratt. The ex-celebrity is seeking revenge against Hollywood for the derailment of his career when the show that turned him into a star was cancelled. Gru, of course, is feeling miserable, though things seem to be looking up he’s approached by a stranger and told that he has a twin brother named Dru. A family reunion could be just what Gru needs, though it isn’t long before his insecurities rise to the surface as he meets the seemingly perfect Dru.
Chris Meldedandri, producer of all of the films, looks back at Gru’s evolution and comments, “In the first movie, Gru discovered what it is like to be a parent and what unconditional love is. In the second, we explored Gru falling in love. Now we start off with Gru having an identity crisis, because he finds himself fired from his job as well as discovering a newfound sibling rivalry.”
One of the most entertaining parts of Despicable Me 3 beyond the Minions (c’mon, let’s face it, the Minions are always entertaining) is the fact that actor Steve Carrell is voicing both Gru and Dru, and creating two distinct personalities for them. It’s a performance that certainly impressed co-director Kyle Balda.
“There are many scenes where Dru and Gru are together, and Steven is doing both of their voices,” he says. “In order to stay in character, he would do all the Gru lines at the beginning, and then he would do all the Dru lines to give a separate feeling to them. It was fascinating to watch him go back and forth.”
When the ideas for the film first started coming together, Melendandri explains that they had two goals in mind: “One was to honor the elements that audiences love. The second was to create new, fresh experiences and characters that make the film dynamic. The Despicable Me movies work because, while on one hand they’re broad, funny and fun, there’s also an emotional resonance that runs through their center… Even though Gru was a villain, we still find him highly relatable and want him to succeed in any situation.”
Adds co-writer Ken Daurio, “We thought it would be a great idea to give Gru another person to drive him nuts and make him wonder about his purpose. Dru gets Gru excited about the possibility of being in villainy again. It’s very, ‘Come on, just one heist. It’s in our blood. We’re supposed to do this.’”
“The creation of Dru,” explains Melendandri, “came down to a core idea: that we’d find expressions of a personality who looked like Gru, but was his opposite in every way. That defined the objective.”
Before going out to see Despicable Me 3, check out our guide to who’s who in the film.