Carell Gets Despicable for Toon

Steve Carell is re-teaming with Horton Hears a Who! pals for his next animation voicing job. According to Daily Variety, the Office star been cast as the lead in Despicable Me, a CG-animated feature written by Horton scribes Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio. The film is being produced by Chris Meledandri through his Universal-based Illumination Ent. Meledandri oversaw Horton as head of Fox Animation.

Slated for release in 2010, Despicable Me centers on Groo (Carell), a terrible man who plots to steal the moon. Only one thing stands in his way, a trio of orphan girls who temporarily come under his care. Julie Andrews plays Groo’s evil mother. Other cast members include Jason Segel (Forgetting Sarah Marshall), Kristen Wiig (Saturday Night Live), Will Arnett (Arrested Development), Danny McBride (Tropic Thunder), Russell Brand (Forgetting Sarah Marshall), Jemaine Clement (Flight of the Concords) and Jack McBrayer (30 Rock).

Meledandri is producing the movie with Janet Healy and John Cohen. Chris Renaud and Pierre Coffin are directing, with Sergio Pablos serving as co-director. Pablos conceived the original idea.

Illumination, which Meledandri founded last year with Universal heads Marc Shmuger and David Linde, plans to make two family films a year with full funding from Universal. Meledandri is working with Paul and Daurio on yet another project, and also has deals set up with Son of Rambow filmmakers Garth Jennings and Nick Goldsmith, and Simpsons writers/producers Mike Reiss, Matt Selman and Josh Lieb.