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Visual Style of the Animated Comedy
When the filmmakers were determining what the world they had imagined would look like on film, they instinctively knew that Gru should never plot his villainy in a boring, humdrum neighborhood. Explains Cohen: "The look of Despicable Me and the world of the movie is very much inspired by a Charles Addams and Edward Gorey sensibility. The art director of the movie, Eric Guillon, and the production designer, Yarrow Cheney, have come up with a bright and vibrant visual aesthetic that's unlike any other animated movie you've ever seen.”

Meledandri elaborates on the film's distinctive design elements: "The characters are largely carica tures of human characters. They've been designed by one of the great CG character designers, CARTER GOODRICH, who among many other films designed the characters for Ratatouille. There is sophistication to the design language of this film that at first glance might skew a little bit older. The environments are designed by Eric Guillon, who is such a great talent.”

Producer Healy, who has worked with designer Goodrich before, admits: "I love how complex, humorous and interesting Carter's character designs are. He captures so much about humanity in each of his drawings; he is just prolific. What I love about the characters he designed is that there is a huge range of types, but the people all inhabit the same world. Carter's work demonstrates the diversity in our world, and he always gives us a unique twist of personality. His people have appeal, and I want to know more about them. That's always a good start for building a character performance.”

Reflecting upon the art director, she adds: "Eric has a sense of fun and humor in all of his designs. His color palette is sophisticated and not overly flashy, allowing the shapes and whimsy to be at the forefront. He can draw in many styles, and all of them have a freshness and a unique appeal. Eric strongly contrasts shapes in his compositions, and the variety of the linework provides a dynamic movement and interest that is apparent at first glance. But it's his imaginative view of the world that sets him apart. He made a cohesive world for Despicable Me, and I never tire of exploring all the incredible pieces of imagery because they are fun, comedic, inventive and totally his own.”

To find inspiration for the film, the team looked to one of its first drawings. Offers Renaud: "One of the first things Eric designed was Gru's car, which remains identical to the way he originally drew it. We looked at that car and said, ‘Wow, I've never seen a car like that before!' The world grew out of that in a weird way. That was the image we first started referring to: ‘This is our world. This is Gru's car.'”

When they imagined how Gru would move, directors Renaud and Coffin were inspired by physical comedians from Peter Sellers to Rowan Atkinson. The super-villain is a towering presence with hunched shoulders and a hooked nose. But when he needs to do so, Gru can move with the grace of a cat. Tonally, the filmmakers created a "Spy vs. Spy” world in which Gru would be subject to all sorts of explosions and attacks—from rocket launchers to domestic sharks—and live to fight again.

It was clear to all involved that they had no interest in creating a universe for Gru and his extended family and foes that had a photorealistic quality to it. They wanted the film to have a unique color palette and a distinct stylization. But the details within the world would need to be quite striking in their hyperrealism—an incredulous fantasyland for a super-villain that was populated with very true-tolife details.

Gru is deliciously wicked, and his surroundings reflect that. The keen observer of Despicable Me can find elements throughout the film that offer nods to the b

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