behind the scenes of “Minions 2”

The adorable yellow creatures, acolytes of the super villain Gru, return to duty in a new film that mixes the worlds of James Bond, Indiana Jones and Bruce Lee.

Postponed for two years due to the pandemic, The Minions 2: Once Upon a Time Gru (in cinemas on 6 July) was presented in world preview last Monday at the Annecy film festival. An exciting adventure comedy, promised a roaring success in darkrooms.

If the result would renew the franchise with a universe between James Bond, Indiana Jones and Bruce Lee, and thus appeal to a large (young) audience, the film will be less convincing for the opponents of the Minions, these cute yellow creatures who dream of evil. , but are totally incapable of it.

bunch of villains

Set in the 1970s, Minions 2 contains the first adventure of young Gru (Gad Elmaleh). He dreams of joining the band of super villains, the Vicious 6, of which he is the biggest fan. But to prove his worth to them, he will have to oppose them. This is the start of a race against time across the United States in which the Minions will play a decisive role.

“We started from the end of the last film, where we showed the first meeting between the Minions and Gru. In this new opus, we wanted to tell how they got together, what their relationship was like in the beginning. And we wanted to find out how Gru was when he was young,” said BFMTV Kyle Balda, the director of the fifth film in the franchise. Me, ugly and mean

“Over time, the most important thing we learned from the Minions is what they needed to make one of their adventures fully work,” he adds. “In the first movies, they were really Gru’s servants. Then we started to wonder where they came from, why they helped Gru. That’s how these two spin-off movies were born. With this new movie, we wanted to go further and play with the images of the 1970s and turn the Minions into real heroes.”

Respect the morphology of the Minions

Animating the Minions remains a very special exercise. Impossible to get these little burlesque heroes to do anything. “We are limited by their bodies – especially if we want them to do kung fu, like in Minions 2“, Kyle Balda clarifies. “They can’t suddenly have longer legs. We have to respect their morphology. It allowed us to try new things with them.”

But if they can barely lengthen a Minion, they can actually make it thicker. They did that with Otto, new addition to the band. “He’s a little bigger Minion, a little chubby than the others. It would have been really easy to make him look like Bob [le plus petit des Minions, NDLR] so we lowered his glasses, we added a brace. Children can identify with him more easily. We wanted to create a character that was a little bit bullied and that will assert itself throughout the film.”

Despite the two extra years gained with the delay related to the pandemic, Kyle Balda hasn’t tirelessly refined the feature film. “We were almost done at the start of the pandemic. We had a few more weeks, which turned into a few months, because everything was delayed. We took this opportunity to rework some details, but there were no major changes to the story.”

Otto, the new Minion, in
Otto, the new Minion, in “Minions 2: Once Upon a Time Gru” © Copyright 2020 Universal Pictures. All rights reserved

Kyle Balda, who has been working on the license since the license’s first installment Me, despicable me (2010), however, was first faced with an unprecedented challenge: telling a Minions adventure without Pierre Coffin, who wrote and directed the first four films of the saga.

“There are so many films in production at Illumination right now [le studio qui produit Les Minions, NDLR] that Pierre was not available. That said, he was still involved in the making of the film. Because he knows the Minions well, he knows how they move, how they work. We showed him the storyboard sequences and he added the Minions’ dialogues.”

Minions butts

In a decade since the release of the first Me, despicable me, 3D animation techniques have evolved a lot. They now make it possible to display characters with unsuspected finesse whose rough design is often criticized. “The tools to animate them are now much more accurate. You can get a better view on the screen, with more detailed textures,” notes Kyle Balda.

The appearance of the Minions has therefore been slightly revised in recent years. “They should look the same as they did on the first day, but if you pay attention to the Minions in the later movies, you’ll see that when the sunlight hits them, it looks like it’s on it. It penetrates a little bit.”

The innovation is mainly graphic: the humor, burlesque, remains the same. With the bonus of two scenes in which the Minions show their raised buttocks. “Their buttocks must have been very cute! They are very round, very soft”, laughs the director. “Their humor works on self-mockery. It fits perfectly. But you have to balance it. In the beginning we had two or three jokes on their butts, but we cut them because it didn’t add anything to the story.”

The Minions will continue to evolve on the big screen for years to come. “The next step is a new movie with Gru as an adult,” announces Kyle Balda. “We will continue his story and return to basics.”

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