2012 Summer Movie Guide

Under the Big Top

The stars of Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted chat about the Zoosters’ latest 3-D tale

May 02, 2012
Courtesy of DreamWorks Animation

Gloria (Jada Pinkett Smith), Alex (Ben Stiller), Melman (David Schwimmer) and Marty (Chris Rock) take their show on the road, in "Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted."

The Zoosters are back with a new plan to get home. When we last saw the wild bunch, they were trying to find a way out of Africa. In Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted (in theaters now), they leave the African savanna all right, but they’re still far from New York City. The gang is now stuck in Europe after following the penguins to Monte Carlo, Monaco. They run into even more trouble when a meanie animal control officer, Captain Chantel Dubois, catches onto their scent.

With Dubois hot on their tails, the pals find a hiding place aboard a train, in a car occupied by circus animals. The Zoosters are excited to learn that the show might be traveling to the States. So, they convince the circus animals to let them get in on the act. Could this their ticket back home to the Big Apple?

Returning to their wild voice roles are Ben Stiller as Alex the lion, Chris Rock as Marty the zebra, Jada Pinkett Smith as Gloria the hippo and David Schwimmer as Melman the giraffe. The actors spoke to reporters about their characters’ trek across Europe. Read the Q&A, then watch TFK's video interview with Rock, below.

Q:

What makes you keep coming back to the Madagascar movies?

BEN STILLER:

I never thought when we did the first movie that it would go on this long. But when you have a really great working experience and everybody’s having fun and it’s a movie that people want to see, why wouldn’t you want to keep doing it? It’s also nice to have that continuity. I’ve never been involved with something that’s lasted this many years.

CHRIS ROCK:

I think this is the longest relationship I’ve ever been in.

Q:

The Zoosters have been following Alex around the world, trying to get back to New York City. But if Marty were in charge, what would his plan be for getting everyone home?

ROCK:

If I were Marty, I guess I’d put down treats in a trail and have all the zoo animals follow it. And I would make sure the treats had sugar on them, so they would follow the sugary treats until they got back to the zoo.

Q:

How do you relate to your characters personally?

JADA PINKETT SMITH:

Gloria is kind of the mama of the group. That’s how I’ve always been in any group. I’ve been the mama and the glue. That’s what I relate to most.

DAVID SCHWIMMER:

Relating to Melman is actually more of a stretch for me. In real life, I’m not much of hypochondriac (a person who is abnormally anxious about his or her health). I never go to the doctor. I’m hard-pressed to get my annual physical. I probably get that every three years. But I do try to connect to the comedy of it. Melman lives in fear and is kind of paralyzed by it. I think there are great comedic moments in that, and I’ve certainly had fears in my life.

ROCK:

Under my clothes, I do have stripes. They put dark makeup on me everyday to cover up my stripes.

STILLER:

I’m a New Yorker, too, and I guess Alex is technically an actor, so I’m like him on that level. I think he thought he was actually a lion out in the wild when he was at the zoo. But when he got out into the wild, he realized he was just an actor playing a lion. I sometimes feel like I’m an actor playing a lion myself.

Q:

Gloria and Melman finally became a couple in Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa. If they ever get back to New York City, what would be Melman’s idea of a dream date with Gloria?

SCHWIMMER:

That’s a good one. It would be something very romantic. He’d probably start the night off at the Chrysler Building, and give her a little tour of that. Maybe they’d go to the Rainbow Room next, and then take a walk along the Brooklyn Bridge, and end in [the Dumbo neighborhood] with a great meal.

The Zoosters must convince Vitaly, Gia and Stefano to let them join the circus, in hopes the show leads them back to New York City.
Courtesy DreamWorks Animation
The Zoosters join Vitaly the tiger (Bryan Cranston), Gia the jaguar (Jessica Chastain) and Stefano the sea lion (Martin Short) in their traveling circus.

Q:

How have Alex and Marty grown since the first film?

ROCK:

Their friendship has been tested. I always say in my standup routine that you’re not even in a relationship until you’ve had to forgive somebody. These characters have had to forgive each other and their friendship is stronger because of that.

STILLER:

I think Alex has gone on a real journey. At first he thought the zoo was his whole world. Then he got to go outside of the zoo, into the world, and his mind opened up because of that experience. He met his parents and realized where he came from. He’s matured.

Q:

Do you have any favorite circus memories from when you were growing up?

STILLER:

I remember going to the Ringling Bros. circus at Madison Square Garden when I was a kid. It was very exciting because they would give out these penlights and turn out the lights. Everyone would swing them around before the show began. I also remember seeing the tightrope walkers and being afraid that they would fall to their deaths and getting very stressed out about it.

ROCK:

I remember the guy that rode a motorcycle inside of a ball. I was like, “Wow.” I’m a grown man, and I’m still amazed by that.

PINKETT SMITH:

I never really was big on the circus or zoos as a child, but I do love animals. I have gone to reserves in Africa where they have animals that are in huge protected areas. They still get to live in their habitat and live in a natural way. My favorite animal that I saw there was the panther. I’ve never seen an animal so beautiful.

Q:

Of all of the new characters, which is your favorite?

ROCK:

I like Frances McDormand’s character, Captain Chantel Dubois. She is hysterical, has lots of energy and keeps it moving.

STILLER:

I really enjoy Martin Short’s character, Stefano the sea lion. I’m a big Martin Short fan. Actually, I love the whole new environment, the circus environment, which is visually so much fun. They did a really great job on the animation.

Q:

What is it about the Madagascar movies that make them so appealing?

ROCK:

Ben Stiller.

STILLER:

Chris Rock. Isn’t it nice how we both complimented each other?

ROCK:

The movies are fun for the whole family. They look great, the stories are really good, and the characters are played by actors you like.

STILLER:

There is an innocence about all of the characters at the zoo. When they first go out in the world, they don’t know anything about it. There’s something really accessible about the characters that makes you enjoy being with them. It’s kind of refreshing, I think.

 

 

Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted is rated PG. The adventure begins in theaters and IMAX 3-D on June 8. Also starring Frances McDormand as Captain Chantel Dubois, Martin Short as Stefano the sea lion and Bryan Cranston as Vitaly the Siberian tiger.


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