Steve Carell, Taraji P. Henson Say America Needs Healing and Joy Right Now

At the premiere of ”Minions: The Rise of Gru,” the two stars spoke about how the country can weather dark days

Steve Carell and Taraji P. Henson agreed that families need silly movies such as their latest flick, Minions: The Rise of Gru, as the country steps out of some darker times but still faces ongoing problems.

“Laughter is healing and we need it right now,” Henson told LAMag at the latest installment in the Despicable Me franchise’s yellow carpet premiere. “This movie was supposed to come out two, three years ago, and I love when a studio knows what they have and they don’t operate out of fear or angst or desperation. I’m so glad they knew we would need this movie coming out of the pandemic.”

Steve Carell had a similar sentiment to his co-star.

“We need a lot of stuff like this,” the actor told LAMag. “We need a lot of joy and sweetness and kindness and silliness, and I think that’s what this movie has.” 

The animated Minions: The Rise of Gru—now a part of what is the biggest global animated franchise in history—tells the origin story of how the world’s greatest supervillain first met his iconic Minions, forged cinema’s most despicable crew, then faced off against the most unstoppable criminal force ever assembled.

Featuring more spectacular action than any film in Illumination history and packed with the franchise’s signature subversive humor, Minions: The Rise of Gru boasts a new cast, including The Vicious 6: Taraji P. Henson as cool and confident leader Belle Bottom, whose chain belt doubles as a lethal disco-ball mace; Jean-Claude Van Damme as the nihilistic Jean Clawed—who’s armed (literally) with a giant robotic claw; Lucy Lawless as Nunchuck, whose traditional habit hides her deadly weapons; Dolph Lundgren as Swedish roller-skate champion Svengeance, who dispenses of his enemies with spin kicks from spiked skates; and Danny Trejo as Stronghold, whose giant iron hands are both a menace to others and his own burden to bear.

As for Gru, Carell admits the character’s confusing accent came about when his children reacted while he was testing out voices to use in 2010. 

“At the time, they were the best barometer for the voice because they don’t lie. Kids don’t pretend to laugh, either they laugh or they don’t, there’s no filter, so I thought they would be a really good sounding board for that,” he said. 

The actor added that he believes his kids still like the accent and still support the films in which Gru appears. 

“They were four and seven and now they’re 18 and 21, and they’re here,” he said. “I put it out to them earlier this week, like, ‘You guys don’t have to go if you don’t want to. I know it’s more of a family movie and they’re like, No, we’re all in.'” 

Carrell added that 12 years into the wildly successful franchise, it’s pure nostalgia for his family.

“They’ve grown up with these characters,” he said. “They love them… and now they can enjoy the stuff that’s in the movie for the adults.”

Minions: The Rise of Gru hits theaters July 1.