Oscars: 'Frozen,' 'Croods' Animators Reveal the Secrets Behind Their Breakout Characters
Despicable Me 2: The Minions
Chris Renaud, who directed Despicable Me 2 with Pierre Coffin, says that when the franchise was created, the filmmakers wanted to find a way to make the bad guy, Gru, more appealing: "Instead of being surrounded by ogre-like henchmen, we thought it would be fun if the characters were more comedic, smaller and sort of like children. The way Gru talks to them, knows them by name, is nice to them -- and they love him -- it gives him some appeal." And so the chattering minions were born. "In the first storyboards, a lot of them were robots, like R2-D2s," says Renaud, who also acknowledges other Star Wars influences like the Jawas. The minions' goggles and coveralls were inspired by the jumpsuits worn by the villainous armed squad in the 1962 James Bond adventure Dr. No. In the sequel, some of the minions are further transformed into evil creatures by the film's true villain, whom Gru is pitted against. That idea came from a Warner Bros. cartoon in which Tweety Bird drinks a Jekyll and Hyde potion, which turns him into a monster. Says Renaud, "We shifted the minions' color -- what color is more evil than purple? -- and gave them the long arms, the hair, the teeth."