How To Make A Despicable Minion!

How To Make A Despicable Minion!

Static Mass Rating: 5/5

Release Date: Oct 15th, 2010
Certificate: U
Running Time: 95 minutes

Director: Chris Renaud & Pierre Coffin
Produced by: John Cohen, Janet Healy & Chris Meledandri
Cast: Steve Carell, Jason Segel, Russell Brand, Will Arnett, Kristen Wiig, Danny McBride, Miranda Cosgrove, Jack McBrayer, Mindy Kaling, Jemaine Clement and Julie Andrews

Following on from our review of the 3D animated feature, Despicable Me, we thought to shine the spotlight on Gru’s wonderful and hard working Minions. They’re adorable and oh so mischievous! We’re seriously considering getting some ourselves – would certainly lighten up the load here!!!

So how did these little guys make their big break in movies? Janet Healy, one of the film’s producers had this to say:

“Chris conceived their initial design and their mission as Gru’s underground mole people, and Pierre added the silly animation style and most of the voices. But the directors brought these characters to the screen together and had huge fun defining them. The result is wonderful comedic moments that add another layer of interest and humour, and it came from the deeply funny brains and imaginations of Chris and Pierre. Once they gave them names and special funny hairstyles, the personalities of the minions started to emerge. I had trouble remembering who was Jerry or Dave or Tim, but the directors always knew. The scenes just kept getting more special, and the fact that all minions are similar is what makes them funny.”

In one scene of the film, we find a little Minion sitting with his pants down on the photocopier machine, giggling away at his mischief, in another scene; we see one of them doing ballet for a moment before he is thumped by one of his colleagues! My favourite of all is when an unsuspecting Minion tries out an anti-gravity serum and floats up through a window someone has left open…and off into space! Apart from the visual gags, it was also the sounds which had the kids in the audience bursting out laughing, along with the mums and dads and everyone else!

The Minions’ voices were largely the creation of Coffin. While the team was pondering different vocals they could give the creatures, Coffin came to work one day with a voice test the entire crew loved. They compressed the sound, and the minions were born. The two men subsequently designed a language for Gru’s army that is intended to be an indescribable vocal expression, and the directors and New Zealand actor Jemaine Clement split up the voice work.

Coffin worked with his fellow director to develop the complex language for the minions. To help us understand them, every once in a while a word of English sneaks out during a scene. Renaud and Coffin discovered how to compress the sound of their voices so that they were able to tweak slightly both their and Clement’s voices for each little guy’s vocals.

“The language is much more about sound than it is about any kind of meaning,” says Meledandri. “Pierre works very quickly to present his ideas visually, and not just in a still form. He’s much more comfortable communicating an idea by bringing it to life with some limited animation. From the very first time we were introduced to the idea of these characters, they were immediately appealing. We had a sense from day one that the minions were slowly going to try to take over the movie; they’re irresistible in their combination of innocence and mischief.”

“They’ve created this incredibly unique language for the minions, where a lot of times it sounds like it’s gibberish. You hear all kinds of languages being incorporated into the way they speak. Then occasionally, you’d hear a word or two of English, and that gives you a sense of what the minions are actually saying.”

While the comic actors improvised certain lines in the film, it was Steve Carell who actually helped to name the minions. During vocal sessions as Gru, he would throw out a name to the minions, such as Dave or Tim. Though there were tons of them, and many look the same, Carell knew that Gru would know each of his happy workers by name. Once the directors heard Carell calling them out by name, they thought it was a terrific idea to give several other of the minions names that would match their unique personalities.

So there you have it, how to make a Minion! If you do see the film, do write in and let us know your favourite Minion moment, and also what you would do with your own set of loyal and mischievous Minions!

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