Who can forget the famous former supervillian Gru and his well-meaning but clumsy and adorably incompetent bright yellow Minions from the animated “Despicable Me” movie franchise? Well, they dynamic team is back again, this time with a very important message about the coronavirus pandemic. Gru and his band of Minions are urging people to keep their distance to help fight the spread of the novel coronavirus in a new public service announcement unveiled on Wednesday.
Illumination, the animation studio behind “Despicable Me,” developed the PSA with the World Health Organization and the United Nations Foundation.
The PSA is voiced once again by actor Steve Carell as Gru and will be translated into multiple languages including Spanish, French, Portuguese and Arabic, among others.
Illumination is the first Hollywood Studio to have partnered with the World Health Organization, the UN Foundation and the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund to support protection efforts and the promotion of good health during the coronavirus pandemic. It has done so by creating the entertaining and educational public service announcement which targets global audiences.
In the minute-long PSA, Gru urges people to wash their hands regularly and keep physical distance, find fun things to do at home such as dancing and cooking a new dish, and to be kind to others.
The former supervillian can be seen in the video spraying someone who gets too close with a hose multiple times, saying, “I’m sorry, I did not see you there. Or there.”
In another portion of the clip he is seen bandaging up one of the Minions, where he says, “This does not come naturally to me but try to be kind to each other, this is a tough time for everyone. So that’s it, stay home, stay healthy and remember we are all in this together. But totally separate, you know what I mean.”
Talking about the PSA, Dr. Tedros Adhanom, director-general of the World Health Organization, said in a statement, “At this challenging time, we must find all ways possible to provide hope to people while sharing advice that can protect our health.”
He added, “WHO is excited to be working with Illumination and Steve Carell and the joys of the Minions and Gru to promote the importance of physical distancing, keeping active and connected, and being kind and compassionate to overcome COVID-19.”
In a statement, Illumination Founder and CEO Meledandri said, “Storytelling is a powerful tool to accelerate positive social change in the world. It is an honor to partner with the WHO and UN Foundation to remind people around the globe to protect themselves, each other and our communities during this pandemic. I am also appreciative to Participant for helping to organize the collaboration and to my partners at Comcast/NBCU for helping to amplify this important message,”
“As the world continues to grapple with the challenges of COVID-19, one of our most powerful weapons is kindness,” said Elizabeth Cousens, President & CEO of the United Nations Foundation. “We are delighted that the Despicable Me characters are letting their love show and showing ways to keep themselves and their communities safe during this unprecedented time.”
(With inputs from Reuters.)