Jason Segal on Despicable Me
By Fred Topel | Images property of Universal Pictures
Despicable Me's despicable villain Gru has an even more despicable nemesis, Vector. Jason Segal provides the voice of the evil genius who Gru wants to beat. It doesn’t really sound like the guy from How I Met Your Mother and Forgetting Sarah Marshall, but it’s definitely him.
Jason Segal Talks Despicable Me
“I was given a sketch very early, and I have a bit of a background in puppetry,” Segal said. “So coming up with a voice to match this sketch I was given was my real inspiration. I had a few months to come up with a voice, and I came up with a few and I went in and they helped me choose. These guys are such geniuses. The one they ended up choosing was perfect.”
Segal incorporated a puppet musical into Marshall and is working on a Muppet movie of his own. The animated film gave him more practice. “The whole thing that drew me to doing an animated film is that you're freed from the physical limitations of your physical body. All of a sudden you get to be something that has nothing to do with the fact that I'm a 6' 4", kind of lumbering dude. That was really exciting. Puppetry is very similar. And then this guy is based almost wholly on insecurity. He just wants to prove to his dad that he's worthy, in this case the most evil person alive. So I kind of drew from there. It was very freeing. I think for all of the cast, you'll probably notice, that nobody is doing their voice. Steve, myself, Russell, Julie… no one is talking like they normally talk, and it's because all of a sudden you're freed from the physical limitations of how you look, which is amazing.”
The art of Despicable Me really got Segal hooked, and he remains enchanted. “I got a sketch very early on that looked exactly like he ended up looking. I came up with two voices, really, one that we used and one that was totally counter to the way he looked, which was like, ‘Hellooo. What do you think YOU'RE doing here?’ And we ended up choosing the one that I think was appropriate. I couldn't be more proud of the way the producers and directors made this film, it's beautiful. John Cohen, one of our great producers, came to my house and told me about the story. Then he gave me a sketch of Vector and I was hooked instantly. Like I said, the story is so beautifully told. There was no doubt I was going to do the film.”
Playing a villain brings Segal full circle from the animated movies he watched as a kid. “I was really drawn to the early Disney villains, and funny enough, this movie is about villainy. They managed to be really terrifying without scaring kids. If you think about Ursula from The Little Mermaid, that's a terrifying character! The Cinderella witch, they're all witches, for the most part in the Disney [universe]. But they're really terrifying, terrible and intense for the heroes, but somehow your eye was always drawn to them.”
Despicable Me opens to theaters on July 9th.
For the trailers, poster and more movie info, go to the Despicable Me Movie Page.
Sources: Images property of Universal Pictures
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