The Fab Four of the Madagascar world, Ben Stiller, Jada Pinkett Smith, David Schwimmer and Chris Rock, are dishing Madagascar 3 to Movie Fanatic. In the latest DreamWorks Animation film, the quartet leave Africa where we last saw them and attempt to catch up to their penguin friends in Monte Carlo to score a trip home to New York City.
"They break into this (Monte Carlo) casino and get in trouble when they find the penguins,” Stiller said. A villain that rivals any Disney evildoer presents herself in the form of Madame DuBois (Frances McDormand). “She’s a very scary -- in charge -- French animal control police person. There are all sorts of crazy chases in Monte Carlo getting away from her.”
Schwimmer believes DuBois may be the biggest obstacle yet to heading back to the Central Park Zoo. “She is a very, very serious animal control agent trying to make trophies on her trophy wall out of all four of them. She is determined at any cost to hunt them down and destroy them,” he said. “She’s my favorite character in the movie.”
After the casino fiasco, the four find themselves cornered. Their only hope is to stow away on a circus train heading out on a European tour. That brilliant plot stroke allows filmmakers to introduce new characters including Bryan Cranston’s tiger named Vitaly and Jessica Chastain’s cheetah Gia. Immediately, our heroes feel a bit low class. “We realize that circus animals look down on zoo animals in the hierarchy of the animal world,” Stiller added.
Stiller’s Alex is a lion who is used to being top dog. That apparently doesn’t sit well with his new co-cat, Vitaly. “Alex finds Vitaly very intimidating, very angry and a little bitter over the past. He doesn’t like Alex immediately,” Stiller said. “There are lots of cat-to-cat showdowns.”
Our favorite escaped zoo animals must go on the lam with a European circus and in the process, everyone gets motivated to further push themselves for the greater good.
“I think what they bring to the circus is fresh life. They bring new acts, new ideas and they bring some life to the circus that was pretty much blah,” Pinkett-Smith said. “It inspires everyone including our main characters.”
The Madagascar 3 cast then let us know what they enjoy most about portraying these characters that are becoming iconic in the animated world. “I always feel that Alex is sort of the guy who is the de facto leader, even though he’s not necessarily a natural leader -- everybody does look to him to drive the ship,” Stiller admitted. “He loves New York and he’s trying to get back home. He’s the keeper of that flame.”
Rock adores the ability to let loose with his zebra Marty, something the format of animation encourages. “Marty’s very, for lack of a better word, animated. So, I get to be really big. There’s no such thing as over-acting in an animated movie. They just make the movie bigger for you,” Rock said. “They make it fit. You’re never too big for that screen.”
When it comes to Pinkett-Smith’s Gloria, the hippo has it going on. “She is really optimistic and really fun, and adventurous,” she said. The actress also finds her maternal ways enchanting.
“I look at her as being the mother of the crew. When the boys get a little out of line, she’s always the one saying, ‘Come on, let’s get it together.’ I believe she’s the glue of the group -- she’s an anchor.”
Rock admits that Pinkett-Smith and her Olivia, for him, are the best part of the movie. “Jada is so funny that she plays a hippo, because she’s so little in real life. She fills it up. She’s perfect in that part,” he added.
When asked what audiences can expect from Madagascar 3, the stars can’t say enough.
“The film is absolute family entertainment, top to bottom. Big kids, little kids, adults, grandparents... everybody can go see Madagascar and have a really good time,” Stiller said. “You've got some of the funniest comedians in this movie, and some of the best comedic minds coming together to work on the script. This is real high-end entertainment.”
Pinkett-Smith believes that audiences find kinship with the characters and their affinity for one another. “We’re just old friends; people see us as really relatable characters. We’re jokers who you just enjoy going on a journey with. Boy, we have journeyed,” she said and laughed.
“The thing that I love about all the Madagascar movies that we’ve done is that they’re fun, but they also have a lot of heart. Our movies are always dealing with really simple, central issues. It’s basically about how one sees oneself and how one deals with the world. That’s relatable across the board. That coupled with some pure fun, that’s entertainment!”