At this point, it’s easier to name the actors who haven’t lent their voices to a big CGI animated film than it is to name the ones who have. Ever since Robin Williams played the genie in “Aladdin” back in 1992, stars have been a key part of bringing audiences into big-screen cartoons, while Pixar have given rare lead roles to character actors like Craig T Nelson and Patton Oswalt in their admirable policy of going with the right person for the voice first, and a name second. As such, there’s only a few holdouts, A-list or otherwise, to hit the recording booth, and their ranks just got a little smaller, as a man who’s been a star for forty years is about to make his animation debut.
Deadline report that Al Pacino has signed on to play the bad guy in “Despicable Me 2,” Universal and Illumination Entertainment‘s sequel to their 2010 smash hit, which focused on Gru (Steve Carell) an aspiring supervillain who finds his heart melting after taking charge of three adorable orphans. Given that the film made over half a billion dollars worldwide, a sequel was always going to be inevitable, and while Javier Bardem was being courted to play the bad guy, talks fell apart, and it’s Pacino that’s stepped in his place.
When Bardem was involved, the character was thought to be called El Macho, but Deadline say that there are no details on his role, suggesting it may have been retooled for a less Spanish-accented star. Or will we get a reprise of Pacino’s “Scarface” accent? Either way, it should be fun, and if the film matches up to the enjoyable (if slight) original, it’ll probably be the best thing Pacino’s been involved with on the big screen in a decade. Carell is returning for the sequel, while we imagine some or all of Russell Brand, Jason Segal, Julie Andrews and Miranda Cosgrove will be back for another go as well. It’ll hit theaters on July 3, 2013, going head-to-head with Steven Spielberg‘s “Robopocalpyse.”