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About The Production
In early 2007, Universal Pictures began to build its family and animation film business by bringing aboard blockbuster producer Chris Meledandri to shepherd the initiative. Meledandri had spent many years at 20th Century Fox, where he founded the studio's animation division and oversaw the launch of its blockbuster Ice Age franchise. With the creation of Meledandri's new production company, Illumination Entertainment, Universal would finance and distribute a slate of live-action and animated films that would be led by the successful filmmaker.

Meledandri, who had been an executive at Fox for 13 years, became founding president of 20th Century Fox Animation during his tenure at the studio. He headed that division for eight years, amassing more than $2 billion in global box-office revenue for the studio. The producer oversaw Fox's 1998 acquisition of the East Coast-based, small visual-effects house Blue Sky Studios and its transformation into the studio's successful CGanimation arm, which employs more than 250 artists. While there, Meledandri also supervised and/or executive produced such blockbusters as Robots, Alvin and the Chipmunks, The Simpsons Movie and Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who! Offers Meledandri about the transition: "I found that I could not turn away from the extraordinary opportunity that Universal offered me: the entrepreneurial aspect, the excitement about a new company, the breadth of the production mandate to include all forms of animation, as well as live action, and the studio's ideas about movies— specifically their commitment to quality, as well as their ideas about how to market movies in an increasingly competitive marketplace.”

"The original concept of Despicable Mewas pitched to me by Sergio Pablos, who is a Spanish animator based with a small animation studio in Spain,” explains Chris Meledandri. "We immediately knew that screenwriters Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio were the team to write the screenplay.” The writers had worked with the producer on the global hit Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who!, and Meledandri felt they had just the sensibility to bring Sergio Pablos' original story to life.

Paul and Daurio had navigated intricate animated worlds before with Meledandri. In their last film together, they gave life to Dr. Seuss' beloved character Horton, telling the story of a gentle elephant who hears a faint cry for help from a dust mote that's floated past. The film, directed by Jimmy Hayward and Steve Martino, was an enormous hit and solidified the two as comedy scribes. For their newest project, they elaborated upon Pablos' idea of one of the world's greatest super-villains, a man who finds more to life than reveling in wicked deeds. From the beginning, it was important to Illumination to construct a tale that would put a trademark stamp on the types of films the production house would be creating. That would not involve two-dimensional heroes or antagonists. Reflects Meledandri: "The idea of making an animated film in which the villain is your protagonist is unusual and very challenging. By the end of the film, Gru has undergone a transformation, and it's that transformation that's made possible by starting him in a place where there are aspects of him that are downright unlikable. You would not have a sense of appreciation for the journey he's gone on as a character had we not started him at that point.”

Fellow producer John Cohen knew that Despicable Me would stand out by showing the side of our humanity of which we're not always so proud. "For a while, we've wanted to make a movie about a villain told from the villain's perspective,” he says. "Chris heard this idea that came from Sergio Pablos, who is a terrific animator. Sergio and Nina Rowan, who are executive producers, brought this original idea to Chris, and<

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