Behind the Scenes at the Cannes Film Festival: MADGASCAR 3: EUROPE’S MOST WANTED


By Evy Baehr, Associate Editor

Editor’s Note: MOVIEGUIDE®’s Associate Editor continues her reports from the Cannes Film Festival in France.


MADAGASCAR 3:  EUROPE’S MOST WANTED had a huge premiere this weekend at the Cannes Film Festival. It’s another crazy adventure featuring Alex the lion and his zany animal friends who escaped from the New York City Zoo. This time out, they encounter a few new characters who happen to be circus animals! The gang goes on a whole new adventure across the Atlantic, as they try to get back home to New York City.

Some members of the cast and crew showed up at the Cannes Film Festival to talk about their new movie to MOVIEGUIDE® and the rest of the press.

Q:  How would you describe the creative dynamics?

Writer/Director Eric Darnell:  In the early seventies Jeffrey Katzenburg plucked us out of kindergarten and trained us in a secret underground fortress to become an elite team of cartoonists.

Director Tom McGrath:  It’s rare that a team gets to follow through with a franchise, so we feel really grateful and we work together as friends. And, we’re able to divide and work more intimately with the six hundred artists to make these films.

Writer/Director Eric Darnell:  It makes it easier [when] we share the vision.

Q:  For those who have been in the film, what keeps you going, and why do you come back to this?

Ben Stiller:  I love the movies and actually over the years it’s become much more easier. We understand the characters more. [Being together] allows for a more creative experience. So, the process has become more and more fun, really.

Q:  Do you all join together for the same reason, fun?

Chris Rock:  And, cash! But, fun, fun more then anything.

Jada Pinkett Smith:  I love animation. I always have. As an actor, it allows you to work a different muscle, your voice. Which was quit a unique experience for me.

David Schwimmer:  It’s like a child-like process of using your imagination.

Q:  Jessica, tell us what made it so different to be part of this.

Jessica Chastain:  I auditioned for this part. I was so happy when I got the call and got the part.

Q:  Do you take your kids to the circus?

Martin Short:  Well, my kids are in their late 50s, so I don’t take them as much as I would like to.

Q:  Ben, how does your character finally show sacrifice and leadership?

Ben Stiller:  Well, I think he has to figure out who he is, which I think Alex is trying to figure out through all the movies. He again gets in this situation with Gia where he’s kinda saying something that he isn’t or someone that he isn’t, and I feel the theme of the film is really about finding out who he is and also the friendship for everyone being there for each other. And, when we finally get to New York, we realize we really aren’t the people we thought we were. And, we get trapped in the zoo again, and it’s something in the story about how we always are there for each other. His friends are there for him, and he is there for his friends.

Q:  What do you like about children’s films?

Chris Rock:  I like all the children’s movies. I’ve been at movies with my kids, and my kids will get fidgety and they’re like dad we gotta go, and I’m like, “We’re not gonna go until I find out what happens to this bear.”

Jada Pinkett Smith:  I think what I like most about children’s movies are how sophisticated the themes are and at the same time how unsophisticated the themes are. It gives a child an opportunity to exercise imagination. When you open a child’s mind in that way, there are lots of information or things that a child can absorb unconsciously. That’s one of my favorite aspects of animation:  how sophisticated the relationships are and can be. To also kind of broaden emotional intelligence in children, which I think is most important.

Q:  Love is the big message.

Jada Pinkett Smith:  Absolutely, everything is about love.

Tom McGrath:  And, love is what gives our characters the opportunity to live. It gives them the confidence to take the risks that it takes to really get out there and experience life. It’s a big part of the theme of the film. A great theme for the film as well is life’s a journey, not a destination. We felt really grateful to able to have this opportunity to bring a third movie into the make. We feel like we told the entire story of these animals on their adventure to the world and what life means to them when they get home.

Editor’s Note:  Make sure to read MOVIEGUIDE®’s review of MADAGASCAR 3! Our review will give parents all the information they need about the movie to determine if their children should see it.

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