Former 2000s child star embracing ‘villain era’ thanks to evil new role

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After growing up in the spotlight and landing huge Hollywood roles, Joey King is now ready to embrace her villain era on screen.

The 24-year-old started out as a child actor thanks to roles in the Suite Life Of Zack & Cody in 2006, and 2008’s in Horton Hears A Who!, before leading the hugely popular franchise, the Kissing Booth – opposite Jacob Elordi and Joel Courtney.

Fresh from battling Brad Pitt in Bullet Train, her latest stint in Despicable Me 4 is as far away from those epic Netflix rom-coms as you can get, as she is voicing aspiring supervillain Poppy Prescott.

The movie is set to be released in the US on July 3, before premiering in UK cinemas on July 12.

Arriving at the New York premiere on Sunday morning, armed with 25 beautiful dogs, she opened up about how much fun she had tapping into the character’s evil side.

‘It’s the best. Nothing is as fun as playing a villain,’ she told on the red carpet. ‘I tell you, nothing is as fun! Playing a good guy is great and all, but you really feel like you have so much creative freedom as a villain.

Joey King is playing Poppy Prescott in the new Despicable Me film (Picture: Illumination)

She showed up to the New York premiere with some pawsome pals (Picture: Avalon)

Joey is loving getting her teeth into ‘villain’ roles (Picture: Rex)

‘I’m loving it, and I hope I get to play more villains in the future.’

Joking that her villain era will be ‘on screen only’, she continued: ‘I mean, who knows? Maybe it’ll spill into my real life.

‘Maybe I’ll become like a huge diva tomorrow – if I feel like it!’

In Despicable Me 4, Joey is starring alongside some huge acting icons – including Steve Carrell as Gru, Kristen Wiig as his cartoon wife, Lucy Wilde, and Miranda Cosgrove as their eldest daughter, Margo.

Will Ferrell is set to make his minions debut as the evil Maxine Le Mal, while Sofia Vergara is playing his femme fatale girlfriend, Valentina.

Shedding light on how she got into character and decided on her Minions voice, Joey shared: ‘It took me a minute to find what I wanted to do. And I love that the director [Chris Renaud] let me play around.

‘When I first got in the booth, they were, “As close to your normal voice as possible. We just love the way you sound!” I was like, “Yes… But what if I did something else?

Her most notable role came in the Kissing Booth franchise (Picture: Netflix)

She also starred with Selena Gomez in Ramona and Beezus in 2010 (Picture: 20th Century Fox)

‘We settled on the voice that is finally in the final product. I’m just so happy that we got somewhere that I felt that, creatively, I got to infuse something into it, and they let me play.

‘I loved finding her voice, it was the best.’

The sequel marks the first Despicable Me movie in seven years, and follows the Minions: The Rise of Gru offering from 2022.

Joey starred opposite Kate Hudson in 2014’s Wish I Was Here (Picture: Focus)

She also stole the show in 2022’s Bullet Train(Picture: Sony)

The official synopsis reads: ‘The biggest global animated franchise in history now begins a new chapter as Gru and Lucy and their girls —Margo, Edith and Agnes – welcome a new member to the Gru family, Gru Jr., who is intent on tormenting his dad.

‘Gru faces a new nemesis in Maxime Le Mal and his femme fatale girlfriend Valentina, and the family is forced to go on the run.’

Bring it on!

Despicable Me 4 is in US cinemas on July 3, and in the UK on July 12.

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