Oscar-winning scene-chewer Al Pacino has abruptly vacated his role in Universal Pictures’ upcoming animated sequel Despicable Me 2 only two months before its release. It’s being reported that actor Benjamin Bratt (Miss Congeniality, Traffic) will step in to assume the role left open by Pacino, which is that of the film’s antagonist El Macho.
The reason cited for Pacino’s departure is “creative differences,” naturally leaving everybody to question what sort of creative differences could arise while making an animated family film. Pacino has been known to go to the extreme with every character he plays, so it may be related to his technique. If I had to venture a guess, I would predict the directors were hoping for some of his Scarface intensity for the villain which perhaps Pacino was reluctant to provide. Again, your guess is as good as ours.
Despicable Me 2 has been a priority project at Universal since the first film raked in a jaw-dropping $543 million worldwide. It includes the voice talents of Steve Carell (Anchorman, Crazy Stupid Love), Kristen Wiig (Bridesmaids, Adventureland) and Russell Brand (Rock of Ages, Arthur).
I have to admit, I was initially surprised to hear that Pacino decided to do a voice in an animated film. It seemed very out of character (no pun intended) for the veteran actor, but I guess it was a wise move considering the direction his career has taken in recent years. At one point, this film had Javier Bardem attached to the “El Macho” character, but he was forced to drop out at the last minute. The last great Al Pacino film I can remember was director Michael Mann’s brilliant masterpiece The Insider. I still can’t decide if this move is going to hurt or help Pacino. What do you think? Tell us in the comments below.
Despicable Me 2 hits theaters on July 3rd.