If you’re not familiar with actress and singer Miranda Cosgrove, ask the nearest child ages 9-14 and sit back for a lengthy and glowing description of her talents.
As the star of Nickelodeon’s hit series “iCarly,” Cosgrove reportedly became the highest-paid child star on television, and earned millions of young fans in the process. Now one year removed from the “iCarly” series’ finale, the 20-year-old actress maintains her momentum with the release of “Despicable Me 2,” the highly anticipated sequel to Universal’s 2010 animated hit.
Cosgrove lends her voice to the character Margo, one of three orphaned girls – along with Edith and Agnes – who came to live with the world’s most powerful super villain, Gru (voiced by Steve Carell), and his horde of giggly, goggled, yellow Minions. The sequel finds a softer Gru and the girls adjusting to a “normal” family life until the Anti-Villain League calls upon him to stop an up-and-coming baddie.
I caught up with Miranda to talk about the new movie, falling in love on film, her favorite Minion moments and being beloved by ’tweens everywhere.
David Onda: How does “Despicable Me 2” compare to the first film?
Miranda Cosgrove: I think they kept pretty much all of the characters from the first film, but some of my favorite parts are with the new characters. I really liked Kristen Wiig’s character, Lucy Wilde. I just love Kristen Wiig, so I’d probably love anything she did, but I think some of my favorite parts in the movie were Gru falling in love with her character. I think there’s a lot more love in this one than the first one, just ’cause my character has a love interest and so much of the movie is about Gru falling in love.
Onda: Margo falls in love with a boy named Antonio – what was it like playing love-struck?
Cosgrove: It was fun. I tried to think about the first time I ever really, really had a huge crush on somebody. And it was fun to be in the booth and act like I could barely even speak – I’m so in love with the guy. Basically all she can say is her name. She was just so into him immediately, even though she doesn’t even really know him. She just sees him from across the mall.
Onda: Would you say Antonio is your kind of man?
Cosgrove: I would definitely say that if I saw him in the mall, I would probably think he was pretty cute with the whole hair-flip and the accent and everything.
Onda: What do you love about the Gru character?
Cosgrove: I love the crazy voice that Steve Carell came up with, how it’s not from a specific country [laughs]. It’s just his own thing that he came up with. I just love the energy that he puts into it and how he still has a little bit of his mischievous evil side – a tiny bit – and every once in a while you’ll see it in this movie, even though he’s changed a lot since the first one.
Onda: Do you imagine what average everyday life is like for Margo, Edith and Agnes living with Gru?
Cosgrove: I feel like nothing’s average with Gru [laughs]. Even the moments not shown in the movie would probably be pretty crazy and different than other families. You know in the beginning of the movie, when he just wants to be a dad and he has a jelly shop? Even then, it’s really cool. It’s underground in his lair where they’re actually making the jelly. He still has his assistant, Dr. Nefario. I feel like living in that house with his Minions and that whole life, I don’t think it would ever be super normal. I think it would always be kind of exciting.
Onda: Do you have a favorite Minion?
Cosgrove: [laughs] I like Dave.
Onda: Dave’s the best!
Cosgrove: And Stuart. I think it’s funny that they have these normal names. I like the Stuart one a lot, too. They had this huge, crazy blimp in London, and it was Stuart the Minion. The whole balloon part was the Minion. It was pretty awesome.
Onda: There are so many great Minion moments in this new movie. Do you have a favorite?
Cosgrove: I kind of like the Evil Minions. I actually think that they’re kind of cute in a weird way. My favorite scenes with the regular minions – I love the one dressed as a maid. He’s, like, vacuuming. I also like the scene when they’re on the island and they’re just having fun and enjoying life and thinking that everything is perfect when, really, they’ve been captured.
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Onda: As someone in his late 20s, I’m not sure I fully understand just how massively popular you are with the ’tween demographic. Can you give me an idea of how big your fan base is?
Cosgrove: [laughs] I don’t know. I mean, I go to Disneyland a lot, and because there are so many kids there, it’s probably the main place where a lot of people will come up to me.
Onda: How do you even walk around in Disneyland being you?
Cosgrove: Well, because I go so often, I have this app on my phone and it tells me how long the wait times are on all the rides, so my friends and I kind of have it down to a science. Once we’re in line, it’s cool. We’re just standing in line anyway, so it’s kind of fun when people come up. But it’s getting from ride to ride that we have a whole thing that we do, a whole plan.
Onda: You had an extremely lucrative acting career through your teen years, yet you went to college and just finished your first year at USC. Why was it important for you to go to school?
Cosgrove: I think school was always pretty important to me, ’cause I loved it when I did go. I only went until sixth grade, and then I started doing home schooling, or “set schooling” I guess it would be called. I just always wanted to go back eventually, even though I love acting and that really is what I wanted to do. I just think getting to have the college experience is pretty great, and since I didn’t have the high school experience, I always really wanted to. And now that I’m actually in college, I realize that it’s not only the experience of being in college, but it really opens up a lot of doors and kind of helps you to realize other things maybe you’d be interested in. There’s a screenwriting class and I’ve taken a photography class and there are so many cool things you can do that I guess I never really even thought of trying.
Onda: And you’re planning on being a film major? Please don’t become one of those snobby film students that dislikes anything mainstream.
Cosgrove: No, that’s not me. I like all mainstream movies [laughs].
Onda: Why should people see “Despicable Me 2”?
Cosgrove: Honestly, I just think it’s fun to watch. When I saw it for the first time, I saw it in Australia at the premiere and my mom came with me, and everyone was cracking up and having a good time. If you’re gonna see it, you’re just gonna have a good time. I think it’s pretty fun to see in 3-D. A lot of movies, I don’t like to see them in 3-D, but I think this movie is really good in 3-D. It’s fun with the Minions popping out at you. It’s fun getting to see it that way.
Onda: Already a little bit of that film major coming out – too cool for 3-D, huh?
Cosgrove: Well, I don’t know! I love seeing animated films in 3-D, but some movies are good to see not in 3-D. [laughs] I’m a little bit of a movie snob.
The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.