Miranda Cosgrove is Margo in
Despicable Me 2
by Lynn Barker
After her hit Nick show “iCarly” wrapped last year, actress Miranda Cosgrove, now 20, enrolled in USC headed for a major in film. We were first impressed with a younger Miranda when she played the preppy, feisty and smart band manager in Jack Black’s School of Rock movie.
In July, Miranda returns to the voice role she tackled in 2010. She plays Margo, the eldest, adopted daughter of master criminal turned good guy Gru (Steve Carrell) in the fun, 3-D, animated sequel Despicable Me 2. Margo is a teen with her nose buried in her smartphone and a roving eye on a very cute new guy whose dad just happens to be the film’s bad guy. Those bad boys will getcha every time. Check it out….
AGW: Did you get to record the voice of Margo in the same recording booth with Moises Arias (“Hannah Montana”) who voices her love interest Antonio in the film?
Miranda: I know him and I’m sure he’s going to be at the premiere but we all did our stuff individually. I always thought that everyone was going to be in the room together and it’s so different. It’s kind of funny because my friend is good friends with him and I never met him while we were doing the movie but recently I went over to my friends’ to play games and he was there and said, “I’m like the suave, cool guy” and I was like, “No way. That’s awesome. I had no idea.”
AGW: Was it easy to fall back into doing the Margo voice and were you glad that she got a boyfriend in this? Did you feel it was accurate to your memory of young teen dating?
Miranda: I definitely thought about being in fifth grade and the first time that I ever really liked somebody, the way you feel when you can’t even string a sentence together so it was fun being able to play Margo a little older. She’s not as protective of her other sisters because now she trusts Gru a lot more and they’re more of a family.
I think it was easy falling back into the voice. I didn’t know a lot about animation then I started with the first movie but this time, because it’s a lot of the same characters and some cool new characters too, working with the same directors and everyone on the team, it was a lot like the first movie and maybe a little easier. We could improve more and have more fun with it.
AGW: You were probably recording this while you were still doing “iCarly” or did you do it during a break?
Miranda: I would just go in and record, sometimes on the weekends or times that I had off for the show. I went in a few times after we finished the series and I just saw it for the first time in Australia.
AGW: How do you feel now that the series is over? Do you feel like you’re moving onto the next chapter in your life?
Miranda: I do feel that way in a lot of ways because I really grew up making that show and I hung out with the cast, which is a pretty small cast, every day for almost six years. I definitely miss it in some ways but in other ways, I’m excited that people who liked that show can see this. It’s something new and fun so the families that watched “iCarly” will enjoy.
AGW: You’re in college now; a time in life when you figure out what you want to do in the future. How is that going for you?
Miranda: In a lot of ways, I feel like a lot of my friends who are in college and trying to figure out what they want to major in and what they wanna do. I definitely want to act but at the same time I feel like college is awesome because I want to learn about a bunch of new things that I’ve never tried before. I even took an art class that was really fun. I definitely feel lucky that I can do a lot of different things. Even with voice over acting, it’s so different than being on a TV show or a movie so it’s fun.
AGW: Is there anything that might pull you away from acting?
Miranda: I think even with college, the reason I want to go so badly is so that I can major in film. I wanted to take screenwriting classes and learn more about the behind the scenes stuff. I love people like Steve Carrell and Kristen Wigg who both write a bunch of their own material and are so involved in everything they do. That’s really why I wanted to go.
AGW: You obviously had a big fan base before this movie. How are fans reacting?
Miranda: I think it’s funny because a lot of little kids have thought in the past that I’m Carly. The younger kids think the characters are real and I think it’s kind of similar in animation. When Steve and I were in Australia, a lot of the younger kids were really shocked that there are people behind the animated characters. When Steve did the Gru voice for all of them, their minds were blown. It’s funny to see how kids totally think things (on screen) are real
AGW: I see a lot of you in the character. Did they use you for her face?
Miranda: They actually film me the entire time I’m in the booth and they take your facial expressions and hand movements and put it into the characters.
AGW: When you go back and watch this, can you and your friends see you in Margo?
Miranda: Yeah definitely. Even with Kristen Wigg’s character a lot, I feel like I could see her bodily movements and things she did on SNL. Even though the character doesn’t look that much like her, she came through in the facial expressions. There are definitely moments in the movie where I saw Margo and I definitely do that.
AGW: When you’re doing the voice and (doing lines with) Gru, do you think about acting with Gru or Steve Carrell?
Miranda: I think when I was doing the lines I thought of Gru. It was easier in this movie because in the first one, I didn’t really know about the crazy voice that Steve was gonna do for Gru. In this one I already had it in my mind. I think that was helpful, knowing about all the characters besides Kristen Wigg’s character. I saw her part for the first time when I first saw the movie in Australia.
AGW: Coming off “iCarly” and spending so much time with people you know, is it kind of a bummer doing something like this where you don’t get to spend that time with the cast and the crew?
Miranda: Well it’s cool because now I know Steve pretty well from doing publicity for the first movie and just seeing him going in and out of recording and, in Australia, I was able to hang out with him. I definitely know him the best of everybody in the cast but it was a little bit (disappointing) because the movie has so many cool comedians and people, When I first started I thought it would be so awesome being with all those people and actually acting with them but then I was in this little tiny room doing it alone. But, I think it’s really cool that I got to know Steve really well because he’s really nice and really funny.
AGW: The minions were the breakout stars of the first movie. Did you fall in love with them the same way the public has and did you see that coming at all?
Miranda: I definitely love the minions. I think they’re really cute. I’ve seen a lot of people in minion outfits for the past few weeks. They dance a lot. I just saw one today. I pressed the elevator button and when the elevator opened there was one sitting in there and I got in next to it.
AGW: One of my favorite things in this film was the guacamole hat with the chips. (At a party, Margo wears a hat made of tortilla chips with a “bowl” of guacamole on the top.)
Miranda: Right! Me too. I hope that they make those now after the movie or have them at parties. I feel like anyone could get over their breakup (with their boyfriend) if they wore one of those.
AGW: Margo is really getting into texting when Gru, her parent is trying to talk to her. Do you text as much as she does in the movie or do you try and pay attention to the person you’re actually with?
Miranda: I do text a lot. I don’t know. Sometimes at night my thumbs hurt because I text too much. I try harder now to pay attention to my mom when she’s talking to me because I’ve learned to answer what she’s saying without actually listening. I try harder now to actually pay attention to what’s going on.
AGW: You are going to shoot a TV pilot episode for a series that would be called “Girlfriend in a Coma” co-starring with Christina Ricci as your mom. Have you actually shot it or have you just been cast at this point?
Miranda: No, we haven’t shot the pilot yet so I’m just waiting to find out. I met Christina when we did the original table read. It’s cool because it’s like a dark comedy and it’s different from anything I’d done before. I really liked that about it.
Uncredited photos copyright and courtesy Universal Studios, 2013
This film is rated PG
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