The new, animated Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas is still happening, and the film now has its lead voice actor. Illumination Entertainment announced today that none other than Benedict Cumberbatch will be lending his pipes to bring the titular villain/hero to life in the studio’s upcoming adaptation. Pete Candleland and The Secret Life of Pets co-director Yarrow Cheney are directing the feature, which has the involvement of Seuss’ widow Audrey Geisel as an executive producer.
But while Cumberbatch is certainly a big name, this is the same studio behind that dreadful adaptation of The Lorax, so hopes aren’t exactly high for this new iteration of The Grinch. Regardless, the picture is on track for release on November 10, 2017, and the first look at Cumberbatch’s animated presence has also been unveiled, with the character’s trademark smirk intact.
In other Illumination Entertainment news, the studio also made the surprising announcement that South Park co-creator Trey Parker has joined the cast of Despicable Me 3 as the animated sequel’s baddie. Marking his first time voicing a character not of his creation, Parker will portray Balthazar Bratt, a former 80s child star who’s grown up to become obsessed with the character he played in the 1980s. He’ll mark Gru’s most formidable nemesis to date, but Gru also has other issues to deal with in the film—namely his long-lost twin brother Dru. Steve Carell is voicing both characters as the film will also feature the return of Lucy, the couple’s adorable daughters Margo, Edith, and Agnes, and of course the Minions.
Pierre Coffin returns to direct this third installment in the Despicable Me franchise alongside Kyle Balda, with Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio handling scripting duties. All involved are Illumination stalwarts, with Balda having made his feature directorial debut on the spinoff Minions. The sequel is slated for release on June 30, 2017, and you can get a look at Parker’s character below.
And finally, the studio announced that a new Minions short film called Mower Minions will play in front of screenings of the promising The Secret Life of Pets when the animal-centric film opens in theaters on July 8th.