Gru and Minions team with the WHO for a COVID-19 PSA

Last Updated on August 5, 2021

Minions: The Rise of Gru, Gru and Minions, Steve Carell, coronavirus, WHO

While the next film in the Despicable Me franchise, MINIONS: THE RISE OF GRU, doesn't hit theaters until July 2, 2021, fans of the series' bald-headed villain can now catch Steve Carell reprising his role as the character in a new PSA for the World Health Organization.

The new video hails from the World Health Organization, the United Nations Foundation and Chris Meledandri’s Illumination, who've all joined forces with Gru and Minions to help reinforce safe and healthy practices during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. As the video plays on, Gru educates viewers about the benefits of social distancing, and how engaging in fun activities within the privacy of your own home can help mitigate the effects and dangers of COVID-19.

“At this challenging time, we must find all ways possible to provide hope to people while sharing advice that can protect our health,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom, Director-General of the World Health Organization. “WHO is excited to be working with Illumination and Steve Carell and the joys of the Minions and Gru to promote the importance of physical distancing, keeping active and connected, and being kind and compassionate to overcome COVID-19.”

Recruiting beloved animated characters to deliver positive and informative messages to families is a practice that studios have been doing for decades. The cast of Scooby-Doo did it, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles definitely pitched in, and now Gru and his Minions are carrying the torch. In truth, this PSA is giving me all kinds of nostalgic feels, even if the message is related to a deadly disease.

To make certain that the PSA reaches a wide audience, the video is being localized into multiple languages including Spanish, French, Portuguese and Arabic, among others.

“Storytelling is a powerful tool to accelerate positive social change in the world. It is an honor to partner with the WHO and UN Foundation to remind people around the globe to protect themselves, each other and our communities during this pandemic. I am also appreciative to Participant for helping to organize the collaboration and to my partners at Comcast/NBCU for helping to amplify this important message,” said Illumination Founder and CEO Meledandri.

Illumination is the first Hollywood Studio to partner with the World Health Organization, the UN Foundation and the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund in creating an entertaining and informative PSA for those who could benefit from learning more about the dangers of the coronavirus. With any luck, other studios will follow suit, and allow for some of their more popular characters to join the fight against COVID-19.

“As the world continues to grapple with the challenges of COVID-19, one of our most powerful weapons is kindness,” said Elizabeth Cousens, President & CEO of the United Nations Foundation. “We are delighted that the Despicable Me characters are letting their love show and showing ways to keep themselves and their communities safe during this unprecedented time.”

When MINIONS: THE RISE OF GRU comes barreling into theaters, the newest film belonging to the Despicable Me franchise will share the untold story of one twelve-year-old's dream to become the world's greatest supervillain. Joining Steve Carell for the madcap animated adventure are Danny Trejo, Lucy Lawless, Jean Calude Van Damme, Julie Andrews, Michelle Yeoh, Taraji P. Henson, Dolph Lundgren, Aland Arkin, Russell Brand, and RZA, among others.

Once agian, MINIONS: THE RISE OF GRU will arrive in theaters on July 2, 2021.

Source: WHO

About the Author

Born and raised in New York, then immigrated to Canada, Steve Seigh has been a editor, columnist, and critic since 2012. He started with Ink & Pixel, a column celebrating the magic and evolution of animation, before launching the companion YouTube series Animation Movies Revisited. He's also the host of the Talking Comics Podcast, a personality-driven audio show focusing on comic books, film, music, and more. You'll rarely catch him without headphones on his head and pancakes on his breath.