'Despicable Me' Star Steve Carell Weighs In On Key Supervillain Traits

A great onscreen villain needs 'good funding, lots of good gadgets,' says Carell, who plays evil Gru in animated 3-D flick.

How can you possibly choose the greatest big-screen villain of all time?

Do you go sci-fi and pick Darth Vader or Khan? Or perhaps you favor a bit of a psychopathic streak in your baddies, in which case you might tag Hannibal Lecter or Norman Bates. Meanwhile, supernatural flicks offer up the likes of Freddy Krueger and the Wicked Witch of the West. But then you start to consider aliens, machines and comic book rogues, and you realize it's all an exercise in futility. The best you can do is to enumerate what truly makes a madman, well, totally freaking insane, which is where Steve Carell and "Despicable Me" come in.

In the upcoming 3-D animated flick, Carell plays the world's top supervillain, at least until a pint-size scoundrel displaces him from the #1 spot. Nonetheless, we turn to Mr. Carell for an enlightened perspective: What makes an onscreen villain truly depraved?

"You need good funding," the actor told MTV News. "You need to have a powerful bank behind you. You need to be well-prepared. You need lots of good gadgets."

Sounds like Carell is describing Gru, his bald, scarf-wearing "Despicable" gangster, who maintains an army of minions and whose gadgets include freeze-rays, flame guns, rocket launchers, and all manner of funky-looking planes and cars. And after playing Gru, Carell walked away, he said, with the sense that cinematic villains might simply be misunderstood.

"My character in this is very much like Hannibal Lecter because they both start pretty villainous," he joked, "but they end up being really sweet."

What do you think makes a movie villain truly memorable? Tell us in the comments!

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