You will be redirected back to your article in seconds
'Despicable Me' Producer Shares Story Behind

Illumination's Chris Meledandri Shares Emotional Story Behind 'Despicable Me's' Peter the Minion

Illumination Entertainment CEO and producer of the “Despicable Me” franchise Chris Meledandri brought the room to tears during Variety’s Press Play Home Entertainment and Digital Hall of Fame induction gala with a story illustrating how film can have a real impact.

Meledandri read aloud a letter he had received from the parent of a 5-year-old boy, Peter, who was severely ill with liver cancer. “Somehow from June through October 2014, the ‘Despicable Me’ movies always managed to make him smile even as his health deteriorated,” he read. “I’ve always made Halloween costumes for our children. That year, Peter asked to be a minion. He at least got to try on the goggles I had made, but passed away a few days prior to the finishing of the costume.”

The letter continued that Peter’s older sister decided she wanted to wear Peter’s costume for Halloween, and though it was painful, the parent completed the costume, which the sister wore to her school’s social.

“Turns out, the inner joy of the minions helped us heal and stay connected,” the letter finished.

“So a year later, in ‘Despicable Me 3,’ the minion Peter made his debut,” Meledandri said. “It is vital for us to never lose sight of the potential of our films to spread joy, humor, and hope, even when people are going through unimaginable hardships.”

Most Popular

  • Idris Elba and Aml AmeenVariety Studio

    Idris Elba: It’s Time to ‘Do Something Different’ With James Bond

    Idris Elba said there’s no such thing as a “black Bond” at the Variety Studio presented by AT&T at the Sundance Film Festival, but that it’s time to “do something different” with the English spy. While out discussing his directorial debut in feature film “Yardie,” Elba paused to reflect on the future of the British Secret […]

  • Keira Knightley: 'For Too Long, Women's

    Keira Knightley: ‘For Too Long, Women’s Voices Have Been Silenced’

    Keira Knightley discussed the changes she’s seen in female stories on screen at the Variety Studio presented by AT&T at Sundance Film Festival, where Knightley’s film “Colette” premiered and was bought by 30West and Bleecker Street. “For too long, women’s voices have been silenced, our stories haven’t been told. The characters that are often seen […]

  • Zoe Kazan, Carey Mulligan on Time's

    Zoe Kazan, Carey Mulligan on How Far #MeToo Has Come

    Zoe Kazan and Carey Mulligan sat down at the Variety Studio presented by AT&T at Sundance Film Festival, where they discussed what they hope to see from the #metoo and Time’s Up movements and how things have advanced since it began. Kazan noted that the festival had put out a statement bringing attention to an […]

Access exclusive content