Birthdate: March 15, 1967
Pierre Coffin (birthname: Pierre-Louis Padang Coffin) is one of the key creators of Minions, both as co-director and as the memorable voice of the little yellow helpers to Gru. A rare example of an animation director and voice performer, Coffin brings an unusual international, multi-cultural perspective to an American-dominated art form. His latest feature as a voice artist is Minions: The Rise of Gru (2022), with fellow actors Steve Carell, Taraji P. Henson, Michelle Yeoh, RZA, and Jean-Claude Van Damme.
After graduating from the famed Paris animation school, Les Gobelins, Pierre Coffin served as a junior animator at Amblin’s London animation studio on We’re Back! A Dinosaur’s Story (1993), executive produced by Steven Spielberg. Coffin moved back to Paris and worked as an animator and animation supervisor at Paris-based CGI studio Ex Machina. Coffin worked on animated commercials in Paris for British-owned Passion Pictures, and then established himself long-term at French visual effects firm Mac Guff.
As Mac Guff collaborated with Illumination Entertainment, Coffin co-directed the remarkably successful Despicable Me (2010), which launched the highest-earning animation franchise of all time, followed by Despicable Me 2 (2013), and Despicable Me 3 (2017), earning a cumulative box office of over $2.5 billion. This doesn’t include Minions (2015), with the voices of Cotton, Jon Hamm, Michael Keaton, Allison Janney, Steve Coogan, and Geoffrey Rush, which earned a worldwide gross of $1.16 billion. This, combined with the Despicable Me movies, means that Coffin has co-directed a group of movies that have cumulatively grossed worldwide nearly $3.7 billion—an astonishing average of close to $1 billion per film.
Paris-born Pierre Coffin was raised by diplomat father Yves Paul Marie Fernand Coffin and Indonesian novelist mother Nurhayati Srihardini Siti Nukatin Coffin, popularly known as Nh Dini. Coffin’s sister is Marie-Claire Coffin. During his childhood, his peripatetic family lived in various East Asian countries, including Cambodia and Japan, before settling in Paris. Coffin studied cinema at the Sorbonne University in Paris from 1985 to 1988. He left university for a year of military service, but when he resumed his studies he attended the Paris animation school, Les Gobelins, to focus on mastering animation. He has two children, a son Noe and a daughter Julie.
TV-Free Childhood: Pierre Coffin’s strict father forbade his children, including Pierre, from watching television. Instead, young Coffin busied himself with school work, drawing, reading, and writing.
Best Audience: Coffin has reported that he runs all of his characters and story ideas for his films by his young children.