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Loralee Choate

Welcome to my review site I do my own reviews and compensated reviews and you will NEVER be confused which is which.

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Despicable Me cast interviews: Julie Andrews and Steve Carell--The Hills are alive with the sound of music! (That's what she said)

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Despicable Me opens tonight!

I hope that you take your kids and have a blast, because it is truly such a cute film! (To read my review, click here. For the first part of cast interviews, click here.)

I had such a good time during the entire junket. It was not hard to talk to the vocal talent, they were all so easy going and helpful and eager to answer any question that was asked of them. The rest of us had some butterflies in our stomachs at the thought of meeting some of our favorite celebrities.

My good friend Y, of Joy Unexpected, was DYING to meet Steve Carell. (Is Y not cute? I love her.)

I was so, so, so, so, SO excited to meet Julie Andrews. (Seriously? I have WORSHIPED her my whole freaking life.)

And then finally...the moment was there and Steve Carell walked into the room.

If there were two words to describe Steve Carell?

NICE GUY.
He is not as 'laugh out loud' funny as I thought he was going to be, but he was soooo....NICE. It practically oozed out of every single pore. You just know you are talking to one of the more decent humans that walk the earth.

They said that they wanted someone to voice Gru that could have good and kindness shine through in their voice and did they pick a WINNER with Steve Carell. He

It was great but why didn't you play a minion. Man...I was THAT CLOSE to being cool if only I'd been a minion!"

I asked him how being a father had influenced him in his role as Gru and he said that that was what interested him about the script in the first place.

"Becoming a parent is the point of the story. When you become a parent someone has their life structured the way they want it to be or the way they THINK they want it to be. Then you introduce kids and EVERYTHING changes. It changes everything about how you feel about yourself and your work and life. It's so overwhelming and to watch a super villain go through that I thought was very funny. And I got all welled up at the end because that character is going through what a parent goes through. Finding the power of that connection with your kids is overwhelming and to me, there is nothing else like it."

(AWWWEEEE!!!!)

And then...JULIE ANDREWS GLIDED INTO THE ROOM.

She is just a lovely, elegant and compassionate lady and you can tell she is one fantastic mother. I utterly loved that about her. She spoke a lot about her 5 children and how she read and read to them and that if they were ok then she was ok but if they were not ok in "any way shape or form" she was not ok, either.

So many of us relate to that. You're only as happy as your unhappiest child.

Her being such a loving, compassionate and good mother made her voicing the role of Gru's monstrous mother seem like an even more unusual choice

Someone asked her if it was hard to think about playing a diabolical mother?

"At first it was. I thought, 'Oh, God I don't want to disappoint any sweet, young children that come to see the film thinking they were going to be seeing Mary Poppins.' I finally came to the conclusion that this lady has no idea that she's as appalling as she is. She is so totally self-involved that she has no idea that she is a terrible mother. And then it was ok and it became great fun."

There was a good deal of warm laughter during the interview and we laughed especially hard when she described Skyping with her daughter and fluffing her hair and applying perfume because it "makes one feel more presentable, doesn't it?"

(I SO LOVE HER.)

My favorite part of her interview was when I told her I had this day dream that she waved to us all like in The Princess Diaries only substituting 'blogger people' for 'trolley people' and she said, "GOODBYE, BLOGGER PEOPLE"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I could have died happy right then.

Sigh....

She is exactly, EXACTLY how you think she is going to be.

Practically perfect in every way.

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Despicable Me cast interviews: Julie Andrews and Steve Carell--The Hills are alive with the sound of music! (That's what she said)

Despicable Me opens tonight!

I hope that you take your kids and have a blast, because it is truly such a cute film! (To read my review, click here. For the first part of cast interviews, click here.)

I had such a good time during the entire junket. It was not hard to talk to the vocal talent, they were all so easy going and helpful and eager to answer any question that was asked of them. The rest of us had some butterflies in our stomachs at the thought of meeting some of our favorite celebrities.

My good friend Y, of Joy Unexpected, was DYING to meet Steve Carell. (Is she not cute?)

I was so, so, so, so, SO excited to meet Julie Andrews. (Seriously? I have WORSHIPED her my whole freaking life.)

And then finally...the moment was there and Steve Carell walked into the room.

If there were two words to describe Steve Carell?

NICE GUY.
He is not as 'laugh out loud' funny as I thought he was going to be, but he was soooo....NICE. It practically oozed out of every single pore. You just know you are talking to one of the more decent humans that walk the earth.

They said that they wanted someone to voice Gru that could have good and kindness shine through in their voice and did they pick a WINNER with Steve Carell. He

It was great but why didn't you play a minion. Man...I was THAT CLOSE to being cool if only I'd been a minion!"

I asked him how being a father had influenced him in his role as Gru and he said that that was what interested him about the script in the first place.

"Becoming a parent is the point of the story. When you become a parent someone has their life structured the way they want it to be or the way they THINK they want it to be. Then you introduce kids and EVERYTHING changes. It changes everything about how you feel about yourself and your work and life. It's so overwhelming and to watch a super villain go through that I thought was very funny. And I got all welled up at the end because that character is going through what a parent goes through. Finding the power of that connection with your kids is overwhelming and to me, there is nothing else like it."

(AWWWEEEE!!!!)

And then...JULIE ANDREWS GLIDED INTO THE ROOM.

She is just a lovely, elegant and compassionate lady and you can tell she is one fantastic mother. I utterly loved that about her. She spoke a lot about her 5 children and how she read and read to them and that if they were ok then she was ok but if they were not ok in "any way shape or form" she was not ok, either.

So many of us relate to that. You're only as happy as your unhappiest child.

Her being such a loving, compassionate and good mother made her voicing the role of Gru's monstrous mother seem like an even more unusual choice

Someone asked her if it was hard to think about playing a diabolical mother?

"At first it was. I thought, 'Oh, God I don't want to disappoint any sweet, young children that come to see the film thinking they were going to be seeing Mary Poppins.' I finally came to the conclusion that this lady has no idea that she's as appalling as she is. She is so totally self-involved that she has no idea that she is a terrible mother. And then it was ok and it became great fun."

There was a good deal of warm laughter during the interview and we laughed especially hard when she described Skyping with her daughter and fluffing her hair and applying perfume because it "makes one feel more presentable, doesn't it?"

(I SO LOVE HER.)

My favorite part of her interview was when I told her I had this day dream that she waved to us all like in The Princess Diaries only substituting 'blogger people' for 'trolley people' and she said, "GOODBYE, BLOGGER PEOPLE"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I could have died happy right then.

Sigh....

She is exactly, EXACTLY how you think she is going to be.

Practically perfect in every way.

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Despicable Me: Cast Interviews--Miranda Cosgrove and Jason Segel (I really didn't ever see these two making a film together and yet it totally works.)

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

A junket (according to Wikipedia) is "where entertainment journalists are invited to see a movie and interview the stars of the movie before the movie's release".

And because Universal Studios invited me to be a guest (ie: pretty much paid for freaking everything) at their junket and sit in on the mommy blogging round table, that is pretty much exactly what I did.

MommyBloggers Despicable Me 025-1

I sat with the vocal talent for "Despicable Me" (Opening July 9th) with 9 other bloggers at the Four Seasons Beverly Hills for approximately 20 minutes with each actor and we laughed and talked and questioned and grinned our heads off.

It was grand.

Our first two interviews were with Miranda Cosgrove and Jason Segel.

Miranda Cosgrove (of I-Carly fame), was darling from the little gray silk bow in her hair to her sweet personality and nature. She spoke to us about how she started her career and things that both challenged and appealed to her about doing the voice in an animated film.


"The directors were great and really helpful they told me to just go crazy and have fun and bring as much life to the characters as you can."

Books and reading seemed to be a high priority for us mothers and since there is a VERY sweet scene involving a bedtime story, we wanted to know what books she liked. Turns out that she is well read; she loved Beatrix Potter as a child and some of her current favorites include Catcher in the Rye, Flowers for Algernon and her all-time favorite, To Kill a Mockingbird.

Being an only child has been a bit boring for Miranda, but she's blessed with a best friend and neighbor that is her age and is like a sister to her. She often sleeps over and Miranda may have copped to doing a drive-bys of a boys house. (We totally warned her not to get caught because I don't care how many generations pass, that moment is just EMBARRASSING if it happens, y'all!)

She wants to go to college, major in film and do a lot more behind-the-scenes work.

This is one grounded young adult, people.

You could tell her mother (who was there with her) had a LOT to do with it.

After all the stuff you read about young Hollywood, it was utterly refreshing to see.

P.S. SHE IS ALSO AS BIG AROUND AS MY FREAKING PINKY FINGER AND GLOWS LIKE A FRESH, DEWY, ANGEL. (BUT THAT DID NOT MAKE ME FEEL OLD, LARGE AND WRINKLED AT ALL, PEOPLE.)

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I didn't know much about Jason Segel other his part in How I Met Your Mother and that he spent a good deal of time looking naked in the commercials for his film, Forgetting Sarah Marshall.

THIS GUY IS AWESOME.

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First of all, he wears a suit and tie every day when he writes at home. He takes it very seriously and wants to be as productive as possible so it's a rule of his to put on the suit and tie.

(I love that)

(I should probably do that when I write at home)

(And I totally will when someone pays me what they pay him)

(Although, I am not sure a suit and tie is the best look for me)

(Heh)

He pretty much won all of us over when he said, "I was an odd kid. I wore a Superman cape under my clothes to school every day until I was 12. You think I'm kidding, don't you?"

He pretty much won ME over when I asked him a question about how he found playing a pipsqueak villain freeing because he is 6'4 and he has always had a deep interest in villains. It totally intrigued the actress in me, so I was going to ask him a followup question.

"I'm curious about that statement because I have an extensive background in theater..."

"YES, I am single and available! Oh, I'm sorry...I may have anticipated that question, I just thought that's where you and I should be going with this."

There was much chortling and guffawing going on at that table to say the least.

I found it really refreshing that someone with is rather 'grown up' resume would opt to voice a (primarily) kids movie. It utterly showed how versatile and talented he is.

Plus, he made me utterly laugh, which is pretty much my favorite thing in the world to do. :)

I probably could have talked to them both for much, much longer but I would be lying if I said I wasn't also dying to do the last two interviews and finally meet Steve Carell and Julie Andrews.

Because I was more excited for Queen Maria Poppins Andrews of Genovea to glide into the room than I can adequately express in words. :)

MommyBloggers Despicable Me 032

Tune in next time for my final post and wrap up: The hills are alive with the sound of music... (That's what she said)--My interviews with Steve Carell and Julie Andrews

(You can read Pt. 1 of this series HERE)


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Despicable Me: The film

Monday, July 05, 2010

During a press junket for Despicable Me, I got to sit down with 9 other talented bloggers at a blogging round table at The Beverly Hills Four Seasons Hotel and interview lead vocal talent that included Miranda Cosgrove, Jason Segel, Steve Carell, and Julie Andrews.

Before the junket, I took my boys to see a special screening of this wickedly fun-filled movie by Universal Studios that opens July 9th.

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At the heart of the plot is Gru, a curmudgeonly megalomaniac that is willing to go to great lengths to save his quickly-declining status as a super-villain. With a physical look that would make Edward Gorey feel at home, Gru is a lovable character that grows quickly on the audience, due in no small part to his charmingly weird, Russian-like accent voiced by the immensely likable Steve Carell.

When new rival villain Vector (who will remind you a bit of a young, empire-building Bill Gates that is armed with cutting-edge tech-toys and weapons with an odd aquatic-life theme like 'The Squid Gun') sweeps in and steals the Great Pyramid along with threatening his standing as premier super-villain and his funding for other dastardly plots, Gru decides that he needs to commit the most villainous plan the world has ever seen: Build a rocket, get a Shrink Ray Gun and use it to shrink and then steal the moon.

Despicable-Me

But like all good tales, his dastardly plan hits many bumps in the road and in order to realize his plans, he must carry out his plans with his trusty army of yellow "minions" (adorable, google-eyed marshmallow-esque creatures that are voiced, in part, by Jemain Clement of Flight of the Conchords fame along with the directors of the movie) and he also adopts three lovable orphans that are selling cookies for their orphanage. Responsible Margo (Miranda Cosgrove), tough little Edith (Dana Gaier) and utterly ADORABLE Agnes (Elsie Fisher) will melt your heart with their sad existence at Miss Hattie's Home for Girls (Kristen Wiig does a fabulous job voicing the surface-sweet Miss Hattie, who is the true villain of the show).

With the exception of Miss Hattie, all the "villains" in this movie are shown to have many layers and facets underneath their evil exteriors. Gru is humanized by scenes from his childhood and we realize his entire motivation is life is to impress his difficult-to-please mother (played brilliantly and against type by the legendary Julie Andrews). We get to see a bit of understanding in Gru's rival in stealing the moon, Vector (Jason Segel), and even Gru's 'despicable' mother gets a touch of humanity at the end.

I sat down with producer Chris Meledandri, (former Fox Animation president and executive producer of the Ice Age and Horton Hears a Hoo ) and he shared one of his favorite moments from the film, when Gru reads a bed time story (Sleepy Kittens, which is an actual book (YAY!) and is available at Amazon.com) to his new daughters and he finally goes from "being very stand-offish until can't resist the role of father anymore. And as a father who has now read to 2 boys and knowing there are so many nights where read and you go, 'Oh, my god, this book' and you see him losing his battle to stay distant and watching that happen during the course of that scene, I find it touching every single time I watch the movie."

(I do, too.)

Even though Despicable Me is loaded with hints of other children's movies like Shrek, Ratatouille, and Monsters Inc., this movie still feels original, fresh and is just a ton of fun and delight for kids and adults alike. While it may not have the same take-away as some films, it is a throughly delightful, funny and touching way to spend your time.

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Tune in tomorrow when I'll post about sitting down with the lead vocal talent from Despicable Me and find out just which one of them playfully hit on me during the interview. (HINT: It was not Julie Andrews. Heh.)

*Comments off*

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