EXCLUSIVE: Harrison Ford has been set to voice his first ever role in a studio animated family film. Ford will lead the cast of The Secret Life Of Pets 2, the sequel to the Illumination Entertainment/Universal 2016 summer hit that had the best opening weekend ever for an original film, and grossed $875 million worldwide.
Tiffany Haddish, Patton Oswalt, Nick Kroll and Pete Holmes will provide the other new voices for a film that will be released June 7, 2019, with a script by Minions writer Brian Lynch and Despicable Me’s Chris Renaud back at the helm after directing the first.
Returning to the voice cast are Kevin Hart, Jenny Slate, Eric Stonestreet, Ellie Kemper, Lake Bell, Dana Carvey, Hannibal Buress and Bobby Moynihan. Illumination founder/CEO Chris Meledandri and longtime collaborator Janet Healy are producing.
Sources said that Oswalt will take over the role of lead dog Max. Louis C.K. voiced the hound in the first film, but after the comedian got in the dog house after a scandal, it’s understandable he won’t return for the sequel.
The casting of Ford — coming as Disney unveils Alden Ehrenreich as the young Han Solo in Solo: A Star Wars Story — should be a highlight in Universal Pictures’ CinemaCon presentation today as Meledandri’s Illumination continues to be a remarkable success story.
The Secret Life of Pets gives Meledandri another viable franchise in an empire that got off on the right foot with first release Despicable Me, and has never looked back. The third installment of that film became Illumination’s second to crack the billion dollar gross mark. This after Minions, the 2015 Despicable Me spinoff which became the second highest grossing animated film of all time. Meledandri has twice topped Deadline’s annual film profitability tournament, and his studio’s films have generated $6 billion in its eight years, including three of the top seven global grossing animated films ever.
Next up for Illumination is the November 9 release of Dr Seuss’s The Grinch, which stars Benedict Cumberbatch as the title character in a film directed by Scott Mosier & Yarrow Cheney.
Ford is represented by UTA and Ziffren Brittenham LLP.