Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Playing against her America’s Sweetheart status, Sandra Bullock has been set to provide the lead villain voice in Minions, the Universal Pictures/Illumination Entertainment spinoff of the Despicable Me franchise. Bullock will voice Scarlet Overkill, a stylish bad-ass super-villain who is (what else?) bent on world domination. The 3D CG animated comedy has been set for release December 19, 2014.

The adorable yellow henchmen, who got their start in 2010′s Despicable Me, will be back this summer in the sequel. This spinoff establishes that Minions have existed since the beginning of time, in service of history’s most ambitiously evil villains. Through their lovable ineptitude, Minions have managed to thwart and ultimately destroy all of those bad guys. This story picks up in the 1960s, before they hench-ed for Gru. With no more super-villains  to serve, the Minions fall into a collective depression and three of them set out to seek a new evil master. They wind up at a villain convention, where they compete for the right to be henchmen for Scarlet Overkill, whose Audrey Hepburn-like high style appearance belies her world domination ambition and her aspirations to become the world’s first female super-villain.

Minions will be produced by Illumination’s Chris Meledandri and Janet Healy, and it will be directed by Pierre Coffin and Kyle Balda. Brian Lynch has written the screenplay, and Chris Renaud is executive producer.

It’s the fifth feature since Meledandri formed the Universal-based family film unit in 2007. That started with Despicable Me, which grossed over $540 million worldwide and hatched Despicable Me Minion Mayhem at the studio’s Orlando theme park. Despicable Me 2, in which Steve Carell is joined by Kristen Wiig and Al Pacino, gets released by Universal July 3, 2013.

Bullock next stars with Melissa McCarthy in the Paul Feig-directed Fox comedy The Heat releasing June 28, and then the Alfonso Cuaron-directed Gravity. She stars with George Clooney in the 3-D space film, which opens October 4. She’s repped by CAA.