Trey Parker Based His ‘Despicable Me’ Character on Real-Life Villain Kirk Cameron

A former child star who turns to evil? Sounds familiar…
Trey Parker Based His ‘Despicable Me’ Character on Real-Life Villain Kirk Cameron

As part of their continued efforts to ensure that parents still see and hear the Minions even when they shut their eyes at night and try to get a few measly hours of sleep, animation powerhouse Illumination is releasing yet another Despicable Me movie this summer. Come for the kid-friendly hijinks, stay for the adult-friendly White Lotus references. 

People who are hyped for the new movie — and parents looking for a cheap electronic babysitter — have seemingly been turning to Netflix recently. Right now four movies set in the Minions-verse are sitting in the Netflix Top 10, with Despicable Me 3 occupying the number one slot. 

Despicable Me 3 is perhaps most notable to folks over the age of 10 because it’s one of the rare, non-BASEketball-centric movie roles of South Park co-creator Trey Parker. Parker told the press at the time that he took the gig mainly so that he could finally show his young daughter a project that he’d worked on, with South Park remaining off-limits until she turns “36.”

Parker plays the movie’s villain, Balthazar Bratt, a repressed keytar-playing former child star who turned to a life of evil following the cancellation of his ‘80s TV show. While Parker admitted that the character’s voice was basically the same as that of South Park’s Randy Marsh (which is pretty much just Parker’s natural speaking voice) his other primary source of inspiration was former Growing Pains star, and current unhinged bigot, Kirk Cameron. 

After all, Cameron’s career trajectory is not wholly unlike the life of this ridiculous cartoon supervillain. Parker told Entertainment Weekly that one of his very first ideas for the performance was to take his cues from Cameron, “a guy who obviously was the shit in the ‘80s and then went crazy and turned to religion.” 

Parker expanded on this unlikely influence in an interview with the Los Angeles Timesstating, “I always had Kirk Cameron in my mind just because of all the stuff I’d seen of him. You know, he got really religious, and he just seemed so pissed.” While Parker originally considered actually trying to imitate Cameron’s voice, he eventually changed his mind. “I saw that he’s such a blank slate, there’s nothing to do,” Parker admitted.

To be fair, Cameron is arguably ahead of Balthazar Bratt in the unforgivable villainy department — from his rants that public schools are “killing God,” to his reprehensible attacks on the LGBTQ+ community, to the time he claimed that Hurricane Irma was a punishment from God, who somehow survived the existence of public schools. Not to mention that he somehow managed to top his sister and make the worst Christmas movie of all-time.

All of which, frankly, is way worse than merely stealing a diamond to power your giant robot’s forehead laser.

You (yes, you) should follow JM on Twitter (if it still exists by the time you’re reading this). 


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