Despicable Me 3: Miranda Cosgrove Enjoys Reprising The Role of Margo And Discusses The Process of Voice Acting
The most lovable animated villain is back.
Gru and the family returns in the laugh-out-loud family favorite comedy DESPICABLE ME 3 this weekend. Their new adventure doesn’t disappoint.
The family will expand this time with Gru discovering a long-lost twin brother, who is more charming, cheerful and successful. However, this twin brother, Dru, wants to team up with him to perform a criminal heist as a part of family tradition.
Steve Carell is back to voice Gru and the long-lost brother Dru. All the returning characters voice cast are back including Kristen Wiig, Miranda Cosgrove, Dana Gaier, and Nev Scharrel. New character voices will be Trey Parker as Balthazar Bratt and Jenny Slate as Valerie Da Vinci.
LRM had a one-on-one interview earlier this month with the lovely Miranda Cosgrove. She voiced Margo since the first DESPICIBLE ME movie, which was over ten years ago. She was kind to discuss the voice animation process and her love for the DESPICIBLE ME franchise.
DESPICABLE ME 3 is playing nationwide in theaters today.
Read our conversation transcript with Miranda Cosgrove below.
LRM: How does it feel to be back as Margo?
Miranda Cosgrove: It’s really fun. I’ve started the first one when I was thirteen or fourteen and now I’m twenty-four. It’s kind of crazy. I’m really excited that people enjoy the movies so much.
LRM: What’s the attraction to Margo that makes you want to keep on coming back for all these years?
Miranda Cosgrove: To begin with, when I was little and started the movie, Margo is a really nice person. She is kind of like a mom to her two little sisters. She’s really protective over them. Over the films, you’ll see on how Gru becomes their dad.
Now in this movie, Margo isn’t really like the mom figure. She gets to be herself now. She has a mom. I like to do those scenes in the movie with Kristen Wiig’s character.
LRM: The character has barely changed on the looks for all these movies. She is still a twelve-year-old girl.
Miranda Cosgrove: Yeah.
LRM: In your opinion, she has kind of changed from the first movie to the third movie.
Miranda Cosgrove: I felt like that she had matured a little bit even though she is still a little girl. She is the most matured out of her three sisters. Even in this movie, when they’re having fun and playing sometimes, she is kind of a bit older and trying to be more teenagery.
In the first movie, I didn’t think anything of that at all. She was kind of bit bratty towards Gru, because she thought he didn’t care for them. She thought he was not good until she got to know him.
LRM: For the past couple of days, I’ve been watching some of your previous interviews. You sound different.
Miranda Cosgrove: Now? Than I did then? [Laughs]
LRM: Yes, now than you did then. The character hasn’t really changed, so how did you keep the voice consistency?
Miranda Cosgrove: Sometimes I think a little bit about trying to make my voice sound younger. For the most part, I am kind of lucky that my voice sounds younger for a person at my age. I’m twenty-four. I don’t worry about it too much. I try to have fun and focus on the character. Hopefully, people don’t think I sound too crazy old.
LRM: Did the directors helped you through the process and gave you certain pointers? This is your third go-around.
Miranda Cosgrove: Oh, yeah. They helped a lot. They did the animation in Paris. The directors will call upon Skype. They talked to me while I’m in the sound booth in Los Angeles for recordings. They offer tons of ideas.
They would tell me to say my lines in five different ways or do whatever you want with it, or add to it and whatever you think. They do give a ton of feedback. Sometimes they do tell you exactly on what they want.
So you do say those lines different ways, but you don’t really know on what they pick and choose.
LRM: Isn’t that unusual that they were in Paris, and you were in Los Angeles for this process.
Miranda Cosgrove: I think so. This is one of the most real animated movies I’ve ever done like this. I don’t know of that’s really common or not.
LRM: Does this prove to be a little bit more challenging for doing it via Skype? I imagined you're alone in the booth with the directors in front of you, but in this case they’re watching you from a far distance.
Miranda Cosgrove: It’s not really that different, because some of the producers and people are there although you’re in the booth alone. They’re all on the other side of the glass in the recording booth. They do talk to me sometimes too through my headphones.
It doesn’t feel that different. I can hear the directors’ voices too. It’s like they’re there. It doesn’t really matter since you’re alone in the booth anyways. It wasn’t really crazy or more confusing.
LRM: For being the third time around for yourself, is it getting easier for yourself to do voice acting?
Miranda Cosgrove: I think so. When I first started, I was a little bit more shy. I was a little bit more nervous about [voice acting]. I’ve done a little bit of voice acting before these movies.
You really have to let yourself go. You have to scream and pretend like you’re really on a rollercoaster, or even being so scared like you’re falling off the side of a cliff. It’s hard to imagine the different scenarios. I think I’m a little better on doing that today.
LRM: Don’t you miss that interaction? Maybe someday, you can do animation voice acting with other people and get to bounce ideas off of other people.
Miranda Cosgrove: I think that could be really fun too for sure. I think there is something about being in a booth by yourself that is really freeing. Nobody is around. You’re not worried about people judging on the things you’re doing. You have a lot of freedom to do the lines so many times. It’s so different than being on a TV show where you have to get in check pretty quickly. You only have so many takes.
Yeah, I like that part of it to go crazy in a little booth by myself.
LRM: What about the joys of having co-workers? You don’t get to meet them until possibly at the premieres, right?
Miranda Cosgrove: That part of it is a little strange. I’ve met Steve [Carell] from the first movie a bunch of times just from coming in and out [of the recording studios]. I get to hear his voice. Sometimes they would play his lines he already recorded.
Miranda Cosgrove: I would say my lines back to them. It’s not the same like having a person in the booth with you. You still have something to play off of.
LRM: Do you get to improvise a lot?
Miranda Cosgrove: Kind of. For every line, they would then tell you to say and do whatever. They have a lot of takes of you saying the lines already and on what they were already thinking. That part is a lot of fun. It allows me to get more creative.
LRM: Walk me through the process in the sound booth. They have you go through at least one take of the line. How many times do you have to repeat it? I’ve been hearing it’s like two, three or even up to five dozen times. Yours is pretty easy, right?
Miranda Cosgrove: Yeah, it’s pretty easy for me. [It’s] probably more for Steve since he’s doing an entirely different voice and so many different inflections. There are so many different ways to say words. He has a made up crazy accent.
For me, sometimes I only do three or four takes of a line. Then again, sometimes it could be up to twenty takes. It really depends of the lines are simple or you can definitely do more with it.
LRM: Back ten years ago, when you first developed the voice for Margo--how did you want to approach that? Did you sat down and said, “You know what? This is a great voice for myself.” Did you practice different voices in the mirror? Or did you create this voice out of thin air?
Miranda Cosgrove: It’s kind of out of thin air. It does help that Margo is a lot like me. It is how I naturally speak. The one thing that helped a lot was with the directors said to me that Margo in the first movie--was to be bratty towards Gru. They wanted her tough. And then be very sweet whenever she is talking to her little sisters. They wanted it to be clear on how much she loved her sisters.
I did thought about that a little bit. I wanted to be clear that it seems like I loved them a lot.
LRM: Are there going to be more Margo a lot in the future? Maybe possible into a DESPICABLE ME 4? Or maybe into an appearance in MINIONS 2?
Miranda Cosgrove: I don’t really know. I think it would be cool after watching this film I could have and do whatever I wanted. Maybe Kristen Wiig’s, Lucy, gets a little boy in the future since they have all little girls right now. [Laughs] I think that would be cute, or even maybe the girls can help their parents now since they are like superheroes.