Hollywood Celebrates “Latino Villain” in “Despicable Me 2”

Of course he’s Latino and he’s the villain. Why wouldn’t he be? Yup, it’s “El Macho,” voiced by Benjamin Bratt, and this new character is the bad guy in “Despicable Me, 2.”

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Here is what ShowbizCafe.com said:

Universal Pictures has unveiled a first look at the super Latino villain El Macho from the upcoming “Despicable Me 2” movie who will be voiced by Benjamin Bratt…

Universal Pictures has been one of the few studios that really takes into consideration targeting the Latino demographic, evident in films like “Mama” and the “Fast and Furious” franchise, which have owed their successes at the box office Latino moviegoers. “Despicable Me 2″ has now created a Latino character to fill the screen with diversity and attract Latino kids to the theaters.

By the way, Bratt wasn’t even the film’s first choice for “El Macho.” That honor went to Al Pacino. As Variety explains:

The role of “El Macho” had been fully voiced and animated at the stage Pacino and the studio parted ways, which sent the filmmakers back to some of the names they had considered during the casting process — including Benjamin Bratt. “He loved the first movie, and he had actually come in and done a voice audition for the role, and so we went back and we listened to that again,” Meledandri says.

Co-helmer Chris Renaud, who had directed the actors during most of the voice sessions, still felt enthusiasm for Bratt’s take on the character, so they invited him in to watch the film with Pacino’s voice (Bratt complimented the brilliance of Pacino’s performance at the film’s press day). As Meledandri remembers it, Bratt said to him at the time, “Look, there’s no question that what you’re describing to me is theoretically very challenging, but I’m curious, and I like a challenge.”

Over the course of five days, Bratt worked with Renaud and editor Greg Perler to re-record El Macho’s performance, starting with an almost mathematical approach, where Bratt attempted to precisely match the character’s mouth movements (the way an overseas actor might dub the foreign-language version). According to Meledandri, a day or so into the process, Renaud decided to switch gears, telling Bratt, “Stop thinking about anything other than what you’re feeling from this character. Stop thinking about any voice that was done before and just own it.’”

One review said this:

As in the first film, the villain is more bumbling than scary. He is the chubby, gregarious owner of a Mexican restaurant. When he dons a mask, he becomes a cartoonish Mexican wrestler with an outsize personality and an equally outlandish plan to take over the world.

One can wish for a villain who doesn’t fall so easily into a sour Latino stereotype or for a script that could resist cheap humor such as a “fart gun.”

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Hollywood.com named “El Macho” one of its “Least Threatening Movie Villians:”

Sometimes, despite their efforts, some villains just can’t cut it when it comes to being bad. Take Despicable Me 2‘s Eduardo (a.k.a. El Macho), for instance. In his hayday, he rode flying sharks with rockets attached to the fins. Now he spends most of his time throwing parties and dancing the night away (not to mention gaining a few pounds in the process). Check out Eduardo and 10 other unimposing villains in our Least Threatening Movie Villains gallery.

Twitter’s reaction so far has been positive.

One tweet wasn’t as kind:

What do you think? Have you seen the film? Did you like “El Macho?”

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