‘Despicable Me 2’: 5 Things to Know About the Minions

1. The minions are voiced by Despicable Me 2 directors Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud.

Coffin recalled that when initial vocalizations for Gru’s henchmen weren’t working, he stepped in to make a test. “I told [Illumination founder-CEO and producer] Chris Meledandri, ‘Let me make a test. It won’t be an official one; it’s just to show whoever is going to design the voice a way to go.’ … When I asked Chris to listen to it, he said, ‘Well, you’re going to be the voice of the minions.’ “

2. The minions’ language includes French, Spanish … and food references.

In providing the voice of the Minions, Coffin uses words from languages including French, English, Spanish and Italian. “There are a lot of food references,” Renaud added. “For example, ‘poulet tiki masala’ is French for the Indian chicken dish.”

3. Minions take an evil turn in Despicable Me 2.

“With their wild hairstyles and their big teeth, [the evil minions] are the antithesis of the cute yellow minions,” said producer Janet Healy. “Purple and yellow are on opposite sides of the color spectrum. While the good Minions are mostly bald, these guys are really hairy. They twitch and are actually a little bit scary … but in a fun way.”

4. Looney Tunes helped to inspired the evil minions.

“There is a great classic Looney Tunes cartoon where Tweety Bird drinks a Jekyll­ and­ Hyde formula and becomes a big hairy monster,” recalled Renaud. “The idea of something cute becoming something monstrous is an appealing thought. We always laugh because the minions, although they’re minions that work for a bad guy, are not really evil at all.”

5. Sandra Bullock and Jon Hamm will join the minions family.

Minions, an animated film starring Bullock and Hamm, is in production, with Coffin directing. It is scheduled for a Dec. 19, 2014, release.

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