WORDS AND PICTURES BY MATTHEW PEJKOVIC
A mere two days after the Quantum of Solace premiere, Sydney’s Market St. came to a halt on Monday night, as Hollywood funny men Ben Stiller and Chris Rock, along with Dreamworks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, walked the red carpet for their new film, Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa.
The sequel to the commercially successful, yet critically mixed animation film Madagascar, Escape 2 Africa continues the adventures of four New York City Zoo animals (voiced by Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer, and Jada-Pinkett Smith), who must fend for themselves in the wild.
When asked about working on the sequel, Ben Stiller responded: “It was better for us going the second time around, because you already know the characters...and the process having already done it once...I could sort of visualise...the first time around you don’t even know what it was going to be like.”
It was a sentiment shared by Chris Rock: “You know, we knew what kind of movie we had this time. The first one was sort of feeling out the characters, because we didn’t know what we had. But this one...yeah, I guess it was a little easier.”
Both Stiller and Rock share similar movie careers, usually running the pendulum between adult themed films and family orientated entertainment. Stiller in particular has found major success in both fields. This year alone he directed and starred in the hilarious war movie satire Tropic Thunder, and is now riding high with the second Madagascar, which has already surpassed the $100 million mark in the US.
“These things develop over a long period of time”, Stiller said when asked about his film choices. “I was working on Tropic (Thunder) for like 8 or 9 years, and I started (Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa) three years ago. So it is sort of like these projects have a long term history and development process, and they sort of happen when they happen.”
Jeffrey Katzenberg, who is no stranger to our shores having visited several occasions previously, continued Stiller’s sentiments. “It is hard work. It takes four or five years to make these films... but, put a great team of artists together, and get them to work on a great story, and get amazing actors who do incredible work...”
Among those “amazing actors” sharing the microphone with Stiller, Rock and co. were: Alec Baldwin; Black Eyed Peas frontman Will.I.Am; and the late, great Bernie Mac.
When asked about Bernie Mac’s legacy, Rock stated: “He was a good guy. He wasn’t just a good comedian. He was a good husband; a good father; a good friend. I miss the guy already.”
Also among the cast is Sacha Baron Cohen, who reprised his role as the frisky Lemur, King Julius, who along with the militant Penguins, steals the film from his much more popular co-stars.
When quizzed whether we will see more of these cheeky critters, Katzenberg stated: “When we made the first story it was always designed to be a trilogy. So, hopefully we’ll get to do the third one.”
Stiller enthusiastically agreed: “Yeah, I think it would be great to have the animals get back home, you know? To get that, sort of, closure.”
And what about a new Meet the Parents sequel? : “Possibly...I think if we can get a script that we all like, I think that it could be funny.”